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II  •  Radio -Television 



report  on  BLACKLISTING 

II  •  Radio  -  Television 



Copyright  1956  by  The  Fund  for  the  Republic,  Inc. 


Acknowledgment  v 

Foreword  vii 

Counterattack  and  Red  Channels  1 

The  First  Cases  22 

Blacklisting:  An  Institution  49 

Newsmen  and  Commentators  7 1 

"Clearance"  89 

The  Syracuse  Crusade  1 00 

"Take  Their  Word"  110 

Security  on  Madison  Avenue  115 

"Clearance"  at  CBS  122 

Aware,  Inc.  129 

The  Theatrical  Unions  1 43 

Some  Interviews  163 

Blacklisting  Experiences  173 

Industry  Viewpoints  192 

Blacklisting  and  Broadway  210 

Appendix  218 

Anti-Communism  and  Employment  Policies 

in  Radio  and  Television  221 


Research  Center  for  Human  Relations 
New  York  University 

Index  282 




THIS  REPORT  is  based  on  the  findings  of  a  staff  of  researchers  and 
reporters  —  Edward  Engberg,  Harriet  Davis,  Gwendolyn  Boulkind, 
Saul  Blackman,  Margaret  Bushong  and  William  Pfaff. 

The  study  conducted  by  Dr.  Marie  Jahoda  of  the  Research  Cen- 
ter for  Human  Relations,  New  York  University,  was  wholly 

I  am  indebted  to  the  Fund  for  the  Republic,  which  sponsored 
the  study,  and  to  all  who  supplied  the  material  on  which  the  report 
is  based.  This  latter  group  includes  not  only  the  research  staff  but 
some  two  hundred  persons  in  the  radio-television  industry  who  gave 
freely  of  their  time  for  lengthy  interviews.  Special  thanks  are  due 
to  my  assistant  Michael  Harrington,  who  gave  invaluable  help  in 
organizing  the  mass  of  material  collected,  and  to  James  Greene, 
the  project  secretary. 

The  conclusions  found  in  these  pages  are  mine  alone.  They  do 
not  necessarily  reflect  the  judgments  of  any  other  person. 



MOST  AMERICANS  ARE  CONVINCED  that  loyalty-security  investiga- 
tions of  people  working  for  the  government  in  sensitive  positions 
or  seeking  key  federal  jobs  are  necessary  to  protect  the  government 
from  the  infiltration  of  persons  who  might  try  to  destroy  it.  But 
when  loyalty  tests  are  applied  by  private  groups  to  people  in  private 
industries  —  and  people  are  barred  from  jobs  because  they  are 
"controversial"  —  many  citizens  become  alarmed. 

The  present  report  (with  its  companion  volume  dealing  with  the 
motion  picture  industry)  embodies  the  results  of  a  study  initiated 
by  The  Fund  for  the  Republic  in  September,  1954,  when  many 
Americans  had  become  disturbed  by  the  revelation  of  blacklisting 
practices  in  the  radio,  television,  and  motion  picture  industries. 

At  the  time  this  study  was  launched,  such  blacklisting  was  a 
subject  of  vigorous  public  controversy,  involving  civil  liberties 
issues  of  a  serious  kind.  It  raised  questions  of  freedom  of  thought 
and  speech,  of  due  process,  of  the  protection  of  the  individual 
against  group  pressures  and  of  the  community  against  the  disloyalty 
of  the  individual.  It  was  a  controversy  in  which  all  participants 
commonly  spoke  in  the  name  of  the  Constitution  and  civil  liberty, 
but  in  violently  conflicting  terms. 

Those  who  advocated  blacklisting  practices  did  so  on  the  ground 
that  Communist  and  pro-Communist  infiltration  into  the  entertain- 
ment industries  represented  a  serious  peril  to  the  American  system 
of  law  and  governance,  and  therefore  to  the  freedoms  which  it 
enshrines.  The  peril  might  be  direct,  through  giving  Communists 


access  to  mass  media  into  which  they  could  introduce  subversive 
propaganda,  or  which  they  might  even  sabotage  given  the  proper 
circumstances.  It  might  be  only  indirect,  permitting  Communist 
sympathizers  to  enjoy  popular  esteem,  earning  incomes  which 
would  help  support  Communist  causes,  operating  their  own  black- 
lists against  anti-Communists  and  promoting  the  interests  of  an 
international  conspiracy  directed  toward  the  destruction  of  all 
liberties.  In  any  case,  it  was  contended,  the  extirpation  from  the 
entertainment  industries  of  proven  members  of  the  Communist 
conspiracy  and  of  all  who  were  considered  to  have  lent  it  their 
support  or  had  been  indifferent  to  its  dangers  (and  remained  im- 
penitent) was  essential  as  a  protection  to  American  institutions. 

Opponents  of  blacklisting  contended  that  such  a  policy  could 
only  subvert  the  rights  and  liberties  it  sought  to  protect.  Some  held 
that  it  violated  the  Constitutional  guarantees  of  freedom  of  speech 
and  thought,  since  it  destroyed  an  individual's  livelihood  on  the 
sole  ground  of  his  political  beliefs.  This  raised  the  issue  whether 
a  sympathy  with  Communism  could  properly  be  regarded  as  a 
"political  belief"  or  must  be  taken  as  proof  of  complicity  in  a 
criminal  conspiracy,  even  though  no  criminal  charge  could  be 
brought.  Beyond  that,  many  who  accepted  the  view  that  a  con- 
vinced Communist  should  be  barred  from  the  cameras  and  micro- 
phones were  disturbed  by  the  methods  being  used  to  achieve  this 
result.  It  was  contended  that  blacklisting  resulted  in  the  ruin  of 
many  entirely  loyal  individuals  without  formal  charges,  hearings  or 
other  safeguards  of  due  process,  often  on  flimsy  or  mistaken  charges 
and  at  the  dictates  of  self-appointed  censors  or  pressure  groups. 

Several  things  were  apparent  in  this  controversy.  The  major 
arguments  simply  did  not  meet.  The  facts  around  which  the  argu- 
ments raged  were  largely  unknown.  In  these  issues,  plainly  of 
critical  importance  to  all  those  interested  in  the  preservation  of 
civil  liberty,  the  information  necessary  to  arriving  at  valid  conclu- 
sions was  largely  unavailable.  It  was  not  even  clear  whether  a 


blacklisting  system  actually  existed  in  the  motion  picture,  radio  and 
TV  industries.  If  it  existed,  it  was  not  known  on  what  principles 
it  worked,  who  controlled  it,  how  accurate  were  the  criteria  it 
applied  in  screening  Communists  and  pro-Communists  out  of  the 
industries,  what  were  the  motives  which  might  have  contributed  to 
its  growth.  Beyond  the  somewhat  rough-and-ready  disclosures  of 
the  various  investigating  committees,  there  was  little  useful  data  on 
the  nature  and  extent  of  Communist  influence  in  the  industries; 
on  the  effect,  if  any,  which  it  had  exerted  on  the  output;  on  the 
extent  to  which  the  Communists  themselves  had  engaged  in  black- 
listing practices,  or  on  numerous  other  facts  essential  to  formu- 
lating any  answers  for  the  issues  of  civil  liberties  here  involved. 
The  subject  was  being  debated,  in  short,  in  a  vacuum. 

The  Fund  for  the  Republic  was  established  as  an  educational 
undertaking  in  the  field  of  civil  liberties  in  the  United  States.  It 
seemed  to  its  Directors  that  here  were  problems  of  immediate  con- 
cern and  that  the  Fund  could  render  a  useful  service  toward  their 
solution  by  ascertaining  the  facts  involved.  It  asked  John  Cogley, 
then  Executive  Editor  of  The  Commonweal,  to  study  and  report 
upon  the  situation  as  a  whole.  This  he  has  done.  Mr.  Cogley  and 
his  associates  have  interviewed  —  so  far  as  they  found  it  possible 
to  do  so  —  every  important  interest  concerned.  These  include  ex- 
ecutives of  the  motion  picture  industry  and  the  radio  and  TV 
chains,  the  advertising  agencies,  leading  advertisers,  the  theatrical 
unions,  leaders  of  anti-Communist  organizations  and  others  promi- 
nent in  "listing"  or  "clearing"  individuals,  and  many  producers, 
directors,  actors,  writers,  reporters,  news  commentators  and  agency 

From  the  first  it  was  recognized  that  this  was  a  highly  complex 
question,  and  Mr.  Cogley  and  his  associates  have  been  scrupulous 
in  trying  to  present  all  significant  points  of  view.  He  was  given  a 
free  hand  in  the  organization  of  the  study  and  presentation  of  the 
facts.  While  he  accepts  responsibility  for  this  report  as  its  director 


and  author,  the  Board  of  The  Fund  for  the  Republic  wishes  to 
state  its  full  confidence  in  the  calm  deliberation  which  he  has  given 
to  its  preparation.  We  believe  he  has  done  a  thorough  job  in  a 
very  difficult  field. 

It  was  recognized  that  many  in  the  industries  are  aware  of  the 
difficulties  raised  by  blacklisting  and  have  been  wrestling  earnestly 
with  them.  Mr.  Cogley  has  tried  to  give  a  detailed  picture  of  a 
situation  as  it  exists.  He  has  brought  in  no  indictments,  and  has 
offered  no  recommendations.  The  Board  of  the  Fund  for  the 
Republic  offers  none,  believing  that  progress  in  resolving  the  con- 
flicts of  interest,  viewpoint,  and  principle  involved  must  and  will 
come  hi  the  first  instance  from  the  industries  affected.  But  even 
this  progress  must  ultimately  turn  upon  public  knowledge  and 
understanding  of  the  actual  situation  and  its  problems.  This  report 
seeks  only  to  supply  the  data  on  which  such  knowledge  and  under- 
standing may  be  established. 

By  Paul  G.  Hoffman,  Chairman 


and  Red  Channels 

COUNTERATTACK  is  a  weekly,  four-page  newsletter  published  by 
the  American  Business  Consultants  in  New  York.  It  was  founded 
in  1 947  as  Counterattack,  the  Newsletter  of  Facts  on  Communism. 

Subscribers  to  Counterattack  ($24  yearly)  are  entitled  to  the 
Special  Reports  which  the  newsletter  publishes  irregularly.  The 
most  famous  of  these  reports  was  made  available  to  the  public  at 
one  dollar  a  copy  and  bore  the  name  Red  Channels,  The  Report  of 
Communist  Influence  in  Radio  and  Television. 

Red  Channels  provided  a  list  of  151  persons  in  the  radio-tele- 
vision industry  who,  the  editors  claimed,  were  linked,  either  hi  the 
past  or  present,  with  a  variety  of  "Communist  causes."  The  "links" 
were  cited  in  each  case.  They  included  organizations  identified  as 
subversive  by  the  Attorney  General,  the  House  Committee  on  Un- 
American  Activities,  the  California  Un-American  Activities  Com- 
mittee and  other  official  and  private  sources.  Among  the  private 
sources  were  the  authors  of  Red  Channels  themselves. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  volume  there  is  a  disclaimer  pointing 
out  that  the  listed  activities  or  associations  may  well  have  been 
innocent  of  subversive  intent;  Red  Channels  is  only  reporting  them. 
This  statement  made  it  virtually  impossible  for  the  listed  people  to 
obtain  legal  satisfaction  for  damages  suffered  as  a  result  of  the 
listing.  The  accuracy  of  some  Red  Channels  sources  has  been  suc- 
cessfully challenged,  many  of  those  named  in  its  pages  have  since 


been  "cleared,"  and  the  volume  itself  has  been  superseded  by  a 
number  of  newer  listings.  But  its  publication  in  June,  1950, 
marked  the  formal  beginning  of  blacklisting  in  the  radio-tv  industry. 

The  booklet  soon  became  known  as  "the  Bible  of  Madison 
Avenue"  (center  of  the  radio-tv  industry  in  New  York).  It  was 
consulted  by  network  executives,  advertising  agencies,  radio-tv 
packagers  and  sponsors.  Its  underlying  thesis  —  that  Communists 
were  "infiltrating"  the  radio-tv  field  and  should  be  removed  — 
became  something  of  a  doctrine  in  the  industry. 

The  editors  of  Counterattack  never  held  that  everyone  listed  in 
Red  Channels  was  actually  an  "infiltrator,"  nor  did  they  claim  that 
everyone  listed  in  the  publication  was  a  Communist.  But  they  did 
believe  that  those  whose  names  appeared  on  the  list  had  some  ex- 
plaining to  do  and  should  be  called  on  to  prove  their  anti-commu- 
nism by  word  and  deed  or  be  kept  out  of  the  industry.  The  industry, 
by  and  large,  accepted  the  proposition.  Counterattack's  standards 
of  what  constituted  "infiltration,"  "communistic  associations,"  and 
grounds  for  suspicion  were  almost  universally  adopted  up  and 
down  Madison  Avenue.  There  have  been  numberless  disagree- 
ments within  the  industry  as  to  whether  this  or  that  individual 
actually  was  "infiltrating,"  had  been  associated  in  any  meaningful 
sense  with  the  Communist  conspiracy,  or  was  indeed  reasonably 
suspect.  But  Red  Channels  was  remarkably  successful  in  getting 
the  industry  to  accept  Counterattack's  standards. 

Most  significant,  the  acceptance  of  Red  Channels  meant  that  the 
radio-tv  industry  officially  adopted  the  political  point-of-view 
espoused  by  Counterattack.  Very  few  in  the  industry  seemed  to  give 
their  sincere  support  to  Counterattack's  political  evaluations,  yet 
almost  the  entire  industry,  as  far  as  employment  practices  went, 
acted  on  them.  The  standards  of  employability  were  Counterat- 
tack's; the  measure  of  patriotism  was  Counterattack's;  "pro-Com- 
munist" and  "anti-Communist"  opinions,  acts  and  associations,  in 
the  last  analysis,  were  judged  as  Counterattack  judges  them. 


Since  the  American  Business  Consultants  is  a  private  organiza- 
tion, Counterattack's  opinions  represent  no  more  than  the  opinions 
of  its  editors.  In  the  past  (according  to  the  newsletter  itself),  the 
editors  have  been  consulted  by  Congressional  committees  because 
of  their  special  knowledge  of  communism.  But  they  have  often 
been  highly  critical  of  the  Government's  anti-Communist  efforts. 
The  original  prospectus  announcing  Counterattack  stated  flatly 
that  ".  .  .  the  efforts  of  our  government  to  combat  Communist 
activities  have  failed  to  eliminate  the  effectiveness  of  this  5th 
column  ..."  Counterattack,  therefore,  was  designed  "to  obtain, 
file  and  index  factual  information  on  Communists,  Communist 
fronts  and  other  subversive  organizations."* 

Counterattack,  however,  has  not  confined  its  attacks  to  sub- 
versive organizations.  A  goodly  portion  of  its  energies  has  gone  into 
combatting  those  ideas,  activities  and  groups  which  the  editors  feel 
"help"  the  Communists.  "Helping  the  Communists"  is  rarely  in- 
tentional; it  is  often  rooted  in  political  naivete.  But  on  this  basis 

*  The  three  founding  editors  had  some  experience  in  this  field.  They  were 
ex-FBI  men  who  had  collaborated  first  as  researchers  for  an  anti-Communist  pub- 
lication called  Plain  Talk  (financed  by  millionaire  Alfred  Kohlberg  and  edited 
by  Isaac  Don  Levine),  then  as  directors  of  a  Washington,  D.  C.  corporation 
known  as  John  Quincy  Adams  Associates.  As  John  Quincy  Adams  Associates  the 
three  ex-FBI  men  — Ken  Bierly,  now  with  Columbia  pictures;  Ted  Kirkpatrick, 
now  with  an  Illinois  business  corporation;  and  John  Keenan,  still  publisher  of 
Counterattack  —  collected  and  distributed  information  about  communism  upon 
request.  Their  work  was  done  mainly  for  clergymen,  union  leaders  and  persons 
frequently  approached  by  charitable  and  civic  organizations  who  were  anxious  not 
to  support  a  hidden  Communist  cause. 

John  Quincy  Adams  Associates  dissolved  after  a  year  when  the  organization 
failed  to  win  a  permanent  not-for-profit  rating.  The  three  partners,  then,  with  the 
financial  support  of  some  well-to-do  anti-Communists,  set  up  the  American  Busi- 
ness Consultants  in  New  York,  in  April,  1947.  The  new  company  had  the  dual 
purpose  of  publishing  a  newsletter  and  promoting  "scientific  research  technical 
investigations."  In  addition  to  publishing  Counterattack,  the  American  Business 
Consultants  went  on  making  special  reports,  like  the  John  Quincy  Adams  Asso- 
ciates, but  with  the  difference  that  ABC  charged  fees  (from  $5  to  five-figure  sums) 
while  JQAA  merely  accepted  voluntary  contributions.  Some  work  was  done  gratis 
—  "We're  like  a  doctor,"  one  of  the  Consultants  once  told  a  magazine  writer. 
"Doctors  always  have  some  charity  patients." 

Counterattack  at  one  time  or  another  has  lashed  out  against  prac- 
tically every  major  newspaper  in  the  City  of  New  York  and  casti- 
gated departments  of  the  executive  branch  of  the  Government,  both 
Houses  of  the  legislative  branch,  and  a  whole  anagram  set  of  private 
organizations  -  NBC,  CBS,  the  YWCA,  the  ACLU,  among  others. 

During  recent  years  book  reviewers  have  lauded  the  literary  style 
of  writers  considered  "subversive"  by  Counterattack;  national 
magazines  have  publicized  dubious  entertainers;  newspapers  have 
announced  the  meetings  of  suspect  organizations  —  these  and 
countless  other  incidents  are  occasions  of  "helping  the  Commu- 
nists." Counterattack  often  seems  to  measure  every  movement  and 
event  in  American  life  by  the  simple  standards  of  its  "help" 

Evil  acts  of  course  only  became  more  malicious  when  the  crite- 
rion is  applied  —  thus  racial  discrimination  or  union  racketeering  is 
worthy  of  censure  not  only  by  the  tenets  of  ordinary  morality  but 
also  because  they  "help"  Communist  propagandists.  But  when  the 
measure  is  applied  to  acts  good  or  indifferent  in  themselves, 
Counterattack  sometimes  seems  compelled  to  condemn  activities 
that  many  Americans  feel  are  the  normal  manifestations  of  free 
political  debate.  A  petition  to  gain  clemency  for  the  Rosenbergs 
or  have  the  Supreme  Court  decide  on  the  Constitutional  issues  in 
the  Hollywood  Ten  Case,  a  protest  against  real  (or,  as  Counter- 
attack usually  says,  "imagined")  instances  of  censorship,  a  steady 
concern  for  civil  liberties,  a  study  of  blacklisting  or  of  government 
security  measures,  a  protest  against  atomic  warfare,  against  the 
methods  of  a  Senator  McCarthy  —  these  and  a  much  wider  cate- 
gory of  activities  are  worthy  of  solemn  condemnation  if  in  some 
way  they  "help  the  Communists."  In  a  1955  issue  of  the  newsletter, 
for  instance,  readers  were  urged  to  write  to  President  Eisenhower 
and  ask  him  for  a  "public  and  personal  statement  on  the  reports  be- 
ing circulated  that  he  thoroughly  enjoyed  The  Investigator'*  now 

*  "The  Investigator"  is  a  phonograph  record  lampooning  Senator  McCarthy. 


that  its  Communist  authorship  and  Party-line  inspiration  is  evident." 
The  President  was  thus  asked  to  consider  whether,  when  he  thought 
it  over,  he  really  enjoyed  something  which,  if  he  enjoyed  at  all, 
he  enjoyed  months  before. 

"Proof  is  available  for  every  statement  made  in  Counterattack" 
the  newsletter  declared  in  an  early  issue.  This  claim  is  not  as  im- 
pressive as  it  sounds  since  Counterattack's  most  startling  "expo- 
sures" have  been  reports  of  reports.  It  is  as  if  one  took  journalistic 
pride  in  the  accuracy  with  which  he  copied  even  wrong  numbers 
from  a  telephone  book.  If,  for  instance,  Actor  T  has  been  cited  as 
belonging  to  Organization  P,  which  has  been  cited  by  the  Cali- 
fornia Tenney  Committee  as  subversive,  Counterattack  does  not 
take  a  great  chance  when  it  states  the  fact.  It  sometimes  happens 
that  Actor  T  actually  did  not  belong  to  Organization  P,  or  it  some- 
times happens  that  Organization  P  was  not  actually  subversive  in 
any  meaningful  sense  despite  the  Tenney  Committee  —  but  Count- 
erattack has  fulfilled  its  obligation,  it  feels,  when  it  reports  what 
the  Tenney  Committee  had  to  say  about  Organization  P  and 
Actor  T. 

Of  course,  the  newsletter's  readers,  not  without  reason,  often 
conclude,  (a)  that  Actor  T  did  belong  to  Organization  P,  (b)  that 
the  organization  was  indeed  subversive  and  (c)  that  Actor  T  is 
likewise  subversive  —  and,  so  concluding,  are  misled  on  one  or  all 
three  counts.  But  the  burden  for  undoing  the  mischief  caused  by 
Counterattack's  report  then  falls  on  Actor  T.  It  is  his  obligation  to 
prove  that  he  did  not  belong  to  the  organization,  or  that  the  organi- 
tion  was  not  subversive,  or  in  any  case  that  he  was  not  consciously 
involved  in  any  of  its  subversion.  Perhaps  he  can  succeed  in  con- 
vincing not  only  Counterattack's  readers  but  his  employers  as  well 
that  he  is  a  patriot  and  always  has  been.  But,  withal,  Counterattack 
remains  a  model  of  journalistic  accuracy  — the  newsletter  has 
"proof"  for  every  statement  made  in  its  pages! 


After  nine  months  of  crying  out  against  Communist  "infiltra- 
tion," Counterattack,  on  January  16,  1948,  attempted  to  identify 
and  enumerate  the  personnel  in  the  threat.  This  is  what  it  had  to 

What  is  meant  by  a  Communist?  Sometimes  Counterattack  reports 
that  such  and  such  a  person  is  "a  Communist  Party  member"  and 
that  another  is  "a  Communist."  Is  this  difference  in  terminology 
intentional?  Yes. 

All  Communist  Party  members  are  Communists  .  .  .  but  not  ALL 
Communists  are  Communist  Party  members.  The  Communist  Party 
itself  has  said  that  one  who  supports  the  Party  and  cooperates  with  it 
is  a  Communist,  even  if  he  isn't  a  member.  It  is  in  this  sense  that 
Counterattack  uses  the  term. 

What  does  a  Communist  believe  in?  Whatever  the  Party  believes  in. 
The  word  "communism"  with  a  small  "c",  or  Communism  with  a  big 
"C"  has  meant  different  things  at  different  times  for  centuries.  We 
could  use  a  thousand  pages  to  examine  these  differences.  But  the  only 
sensible  definition  of  "Communism"  today  is  this: 

Communism  means  the  practices  &  REAL  doctrines  of  Stalin  Russia. 
Not  the  doctrines  that  Stalin  sometimes  pretends  to  believe  in,  but  those 
that  he  really  works  at. 

And  a  Communist  is  anyone  who  supports  the  Communist  Party  on 
every  important  question.  Some  Communist  non-members  occasionally 
dissent  on  slight  details.  That  doesn't  matter.  They're  still  Com- 
munists .  .  . 

As  for  actual  Party  membership,  Counterattack  estimated  in  its 
second  issue  that  there  were  80,000  dues-paying  Communists  hi 
the  American  Party.  However,  less  than  two  months  later,  "Count- 
erattack investigators"  produced  an  "inside  report"  that  member- 
ship was  up  to  84,000.  And,  the  report  continued,  "Organizational 
Secretary  Henry  Winston  privately  expects  90,000  by  end  of  year. 
This  means  90,000  enlisted  dues-paying  members  ...  the  'tank 
corps'  of  a  much  bigger  army  of  non-member  Communists." 

The  story  of  Counterattack's  concern  with  those  it  considers 
"fronters"  stretches  over  the  entire  span  of  the  newsletter's  history. 

Even  by  the  time  Red  Channels  appeared  (in  five  instances  persons 
were  listed  there  for  only  one  affiliation),  the  editors  could  not, 
or  did  not  attempt  to,  distinguish  between  "dupes"  and  ideologues, 
a  fact  widely  criticized  at  the  time. 

But  some  decision  must  be  made  as  to  what  organizations  are 
truly  "fronts."  The  newsletter  itself  recognized  the  difficulty.  In 
June,  1947  Counterattack  asked:  "Which  organizations  are  really 
fronts  and  which  aren't?  How  can  a  jury  be  expected  to  distinguish? 
And  if  a  jury  does  decide  that  a  certain  organization  is  a  front,  how 
can  it  tell  whether  the  defendant  helped  it  as  a  Communist  or  as  an 
'innocent'?  —  Some  eminent  persons,  including  Supreme  Court 
justices  and  conservative  multi-millionaires,  have  innocently  spon- 
sored Communist  fronts." 

Nevertheless,  on  December  19,  1947,  after  the  Attorney  Gen- 
eral's list  had  been  made  public,  Counterattack  named  34  fronts 
not  included  by  the  AG  which  "ought  to  have  been."  A  few  months 
later  it  gave  its  readers  a  list  of  192  "fronts,"  119  of  which,  it 
pointed  out,  did  not  appear  on  the  Attorney  General's  list. 

The  issue  was  basic,  and  one  must  look  to  the  general  obscurity 
of  the  newsletter  in  these  early  days  in  order  to  understand  why  it 
was  not  thrashed  out  then  and  there. 

The  issue  was  whether  the  American  public  would  accept  a 
private  group,  however  knowledgeable,  fair,  careful  or  scrupulous 
it  might  be,  which  compiled  its  own  list  of  subversive  organizations 
and  then  put  the  considerable  public  pressure  at  its  disposal  to 
force  anyone  associated  with  the  organization  at  any  time  to 
"explain"  his  association  or  suffer  the  consequences.  For  the  most 
part,  it  was  not  a  question  of  legality  but  of  political  prudence. 

Another  problem  came  up  in  deciding  who  had  lent  their  names 
to  "fronts"  of -whatever  citation.  The  Communists,  it  is  clear,  were 
not  always  scrupulous  about  the  use  of  names.  And  in  its  issue  for 
July  16,  1954,  Counterattack  noted  their  duplicity.  Under  a  head- 


ing  "Red  Front  Uses  Phony  Sponsor  List,"  Counterattack  men- 
tioned a  letter  being  circulated  by  the  Spanish  Refugee  Appeal  of 
the  Joint  Anti-Fascist  Refugee  Committee: 

.  .  .  On  the  letterhead,  as  national  sponsors,  were  100  prominent 
names.  The  obvious  ones  stood  out:  Howard  Fast,  Dalton  Trumbo  and 
Alvah  Bessie  of  Hollywood's  "unfriendly  nine"  and  Paul  Robeson. 
Then  there  were  some  shockers  —  names  whose  appearance  on  a  front's 
letterhead  in  this  day  and  age  were  unbelievable.  They  were:  Pierre 
Monteux,  the  distinguished  conductor;  Yehudi  Menuhin,  the  violinist; 
Hazel  Scott  and  her  husband,  Rep.  Adam  Clayton  Powell,  Jr.;  the 
composer,  Leonard  Bernstein;  and  Bartley  C.  Crum.  Counterattack 
wrote  to  each  of  them,  as  well  as  to  others  whose  names  seemed  out 
of  place  on  a  Communist  appeal  because  of  their  actions  of  recent 
years.  From  these  persons  named,  and  from  several  others,  prompt 
replies  were  received.  In  each  case  the  person  either  denied  ever  having 
given  authority  for  the  use  of  their  name  —  and  said  they  would  demand 
withdrawal  —  or  produced  good  evidence  that  they  had  demanded  that 
the  Appeal  drop  their  names  as  far  back  as  1948.  (It  is  only  fair,  the 
editors  feel,  to  omit  the  names  of  persons  who  did  not  reply  or  whose 
address  was  unknown.) 

But  Counterattack  was  not  ready  to  discount  the  Communists' 
own  lists  entirely.  "Anyone  of  responsibility,"  it  declared  in  con- 
nection with  the  "phony"  sponsor  list,  "whose  name  still  might  be 
improperly  attached  to  such  a  pro-Communist  group  has  a  definite 
responsibility  of  seeing  that  his  name  is  removed." 

A  similar  case  had  come  up  in  the  pages  of  Counterattack  in 
January,  1954.  The  editors  took  out  after  singer  Harry  Belafonte, 
described  as  a  "Communist  fronter,"  and  listed,  among  four  trans- 
gressions: "Belafonte  entertained  for  the  Distributive  Workers 
Union  in  1950."  The  union  at  that  time,  according  to  Counter- 
attack, was  a  "100%  follower  of  the  Party  line."  Belafonte  was  also 
cited  for  entertaining  at  a  "Freedom  Rally"  with  Paul  Robeson. 

In  its  February  4  issue,  the  newsletter  announced  that  "Bela- 
fonte has  since  approached  Counterattack  to  clarify  his  stand." 
Belafonte  denied  he  had  entertained  for  the  union  but  admitted 


other  transgressions.  What  was  Counterattack's  proof  that  Bela- 
fonte  had  "entertained  for"  this  union?  As  it  pointed  out  in  its 
pages,  "the  union's  paper  of  March  12,  1950,  stated  that  he  had 
entertained  at  one  of  its  affairs  the  previous  Sunday."  For  some 
reason,  Belafonte  had  not  been  living  up  to  his  responsibility  to 
protest  this  use  of  his  name. 

In  the  case  of  the  "Freedom  Rally"  he  made  a  good  try.  "Bela- 
fonte," the  newsletter  said  about  this  charge,  "says  he  did  not  give 
Robeson  permission  to  use  his  name  for,  and  that  he  did  not  appear 
at,  the  'Freedom'  rally  .  .  .  and  that  he  sent  a  release  to  various 
New  York  City  newspapers  pointing  out  these  facts  at  the  time. 
This  is  verified  by  the  fact  that  Belafonte  has  given  Counterattack  a 
copy  of  a  newspaper  containing  mention  of  his  release."  On  the 
other  two  counts  against  Belafonte  the  newsletter  had  been  right. 
But  it  offered  no  apology  for  its  own  "misuse"  of  the  singer's  name. 
It  said :  " 'Counterattack  has  always  held  that  persons  associated  with 
Communist  fronts  cannot  be  'cleared'  by  anyone  but  themselves. 
At  the  same  time  Counterattack  has  always  been  willing  to  help 
such  persons  in  their  efforts  to  clarify  their  positions  and  take  an 
anti-CP  stand."  The  newsletter  mentioned  that  in  1952  Belafonte 
had  written  a  private  letter  to  a  producer  in  Hollywood,  stating  he 
would  exercise  "extreme  care  in  his  future  associations."  "As  far 
as  Counterattack  can  determine,  Belafonte  has  not  supported  any 
fronts  since  that  time." 

Apparently,  Belafonte's  mistake  was  that  he  had  not  been 
"cleared"  by  the  editors  of  Counterattack. 

When  Counterattack  first  appeared,  in  1947,  the  nation  was  not 
yet  united  on  the  kind  of  militant  anti-communism  that  marked 
the  next  few  years.  American  diplomats  attended  the  Moscow  Con- 
ference in  March,  in  an  attempt  to  stem  the  mounting  animosity 
between  East  and  West.  Yet,  in  the  same  month,  President 
Truman,  in  a  speech  before  a  joint  session  of  Congress  on  the  need 


for  aid  to  Greece  and  Turkey,  warned  that  "totalitarian  regimes 
imposed  on  free  peoples  by  direct  or  indirect  aggression  undermine 
the  foundation  of  international  peace  and  hence  the  security  of  the 
United  States." 

One  of  the  warmest  public  debates  that  year  was  whether  or 
not  to  outlaw  the  American  Communist  Party,  which  had  been 
esablished  in  1919.  The  American  Legion  and  Daughters  of  the 
American  Revolution  heartily  supported  the  measure.  They  were 
opposed  by  J.  Edgar  Hoover,  the  American  Civil  Liberties  Union 
and  other  groups.  The  National  Commander  of  the  Catholic  War 
Veterans  suggested  all  Communist  Party  members  be  deported 
(presumably  to  Russia).  In  October,  1947,  news  of  the  re-estab- 
lishment of  the  Cominform  in  Eastern  Europe  reached  the  United 
States  and  was  largely  accepted  as  proof  that  the  Comintern,  a 
group  dedicated  to  violent  world  upheaval  and  supposedly  dis- 
solved by  Stalin  himself  in  1943,  had  been  revived. 

The  Communist  Party  was  a  murky  image  in  most  minds;  but 
its  very  presence  in  American  political  life  made  the  problem  of 
dealing  with  communism  at  home  and  abroad  considerably  more 
difficult  and  complex. 

The  inauguration  of  a  newsletter  designed  to  present  "facts  on 
communism"  seemed  a  step  in  the  right  direction.  Counterattack, 
however,  concerned  itself  less  with  communism  than  with  Commu- 
nists and  especially  those  of  name  or  prestige  who  "helped  the 
Communists,"  a  variety  of  "dupes,"  "stooges,"  "innocents"  and 
"appeasers."  It  was  evident,  too,  that  the  newsletter  was  to  use 
words  like  "Communist"  and  "front"  in  special  ways  to  be  found 
neither  in  the  public  dictionaries  nor  the  public  mind.  .Favored 
words  in  these  early  issues  of  the  newsletter  were  those  that  identi- 
fied the  opposing  camps  —  "anti-Communists"  (i.e.,  in  agreement 
with  Counterattack)  and  "fifth-columnists."  These  two  camps  were 
engaged  in  an  ideological  (and  in  some  sense,  economic)  civil 
war  —  a  war  linked  with  democracy's  world-wide  struggle  against 


communism.  "Action  on  the  labor  front,"  an  early  issue  claimed, 
"must  go  hand  in  hand  with  action  against  public  officials,  actors, 
writers  and  so  on  who  cunningly  sell  the  Moscow  line."  The  news- 
letter early  in  its  history  espoused  the  denaturalization  of  Commu- 
nists, as  the  Nazis  had  been  denaturalized,  and  called  for  the  dis- 
barment of  lawyers  in  the  National  Lawyers  Guild. 

In  its  31  issues  for  1947  (it  missed  twice  during  that  first  year 
of  publication)  little  space  was  devoted  to  the  entertainment  field 
and  the  slight  interest  in  show  folk  continued  through  1948.  Most 
of  Counterattack's  attention  was  given  to  communism  in  the  trade 
unions.  The  most  important  event  in  the  entertainment  world,  of 
course,  was  the  House  Un-American  Activities  Committee  inves- 
tigation of  Hollywood.  Counterattack  heartily  endorsed  J.  Parnell 
Thomas  and  urged  its  readers  to  do  likewise.  On  October  31,  it 
explained:  "Movie  Stars,  Writers,  Directors  Have  a  Divine  Right 
to  be  Quislings.  This  is  the  implicit  meaning  of  terrific  propaganda 
drive  by  Hollywood  celebrities  and  movie  producers  against 
Thomas  Committee  ...  A  cat  may  look  at  a  king  but  Congress 
may  not  take  a  square  look  at  the  doings  of  Hollywood  royalty."  It 
went  on  to  cite  the  Committee  for  the  First  Amendment  as  a 
"front,"  and  advised  its  readers  to  write  their  Congressmen  in 
support  of  the  House  probe. 

In  September,  1947,  Counterattack  stated  its  policy: 

Most  important  thing  of  all  is  to  base  your  whole  policy  on  a  firmly 
moral  foundation.  Space  should  not  be  rented  to  the  Communist  Party 
or  to  any  Communist  front.  Supplies  should  not  be  sold  to  them.  They 
should  not  be  allowed  to  participate  in  meetings  or  to  have  time  on  the 
air  or  to  advertise  in  the  press.  No  concession  should  ever  be  made  to 
them  for  any  business  reason. 

Communist  actors,  announcers,  directors,  writers,  producers,  etc., 
whether  in  radio,  theatre,  or  movies,  should  all  be  barred  to  the  extent 
permissible  by  law  and  union  contracts.  There  should  be  no  avoidable 
dealings  with  any  union  official  who  has  shown  by  his  acts  that  he  is 
secretly  a  Communist  Party  member  or  fellow-traveler. 


The  newsletter  admitted  that 

Sometimes  it  won't  be  easy  to  follow  this  rule.  But  we  may  as  well 
recognize  that  anything  we  gain  now  by  personal  or  business  appease- 
ment will  eventually  plague  us,  as  international  appeasement  has  al- 
ready done. 

In  October  it  swung  even  harder: 

The  way  to  treat  Communists  is  to  ostracize  them.  How  would  you 
act  towards  men  who  had  been  convicted  of  treason?  Would  you 
befriend  them,  invite  them  [sic],  listen  to  them?  Or  would  you  treat 
them  as  outcasts? 

Total  ostracism  .  .  .  that's  the  only  effective  way.  It's  the  only  way 
to  freeze  the  Communists  out.  It's  the  only  DEED  that  will  prove  you 
believe  what  you  say  about  them.  And  so  it's  the  most  convincing 

The  newsletter  opposed  the  employment  of  "fronters"  and 
"Communists"  (members  and  "non-members")  because  money 
paid  to  them  by  American  business  would  find  its  way  to  support 
propaganda  and  espionage  activities.  Occasionally  an  instance  of 
direct  propaganda  was  detected  and  "exposed"  in  the  pages  of 
Counterattack.  From  time  to  time  the  editors  discussed  the  Party's 
use  of  "historical  parallels,"  especially  in  plays  and  movies,  and 
scrutinized  the  words  of  writers  it  considered  subversive. 

On  August  8,  1947,  the  following  item  appeared  in  the  news- 

Arthur  Miller  has  disclosed  that  the  Army  has  acquired  the  right  to 
produce  his  play  "All  My  Sons"  in  Germany.  So  American  soldiers 
there  and  many  Germans  will  see  a  play  .  .  .  based  on  the  theme  that 
U.  S.  manufacturers  produced  defective  airplanes  and  .other  equipment 
during  the  war,  clamly  endangering  the  lives  of  their  own  sons  .  .  . 
Miller  twisted  the  facts  in  a  central  situation  in  his  play.  He  wrote  a 
scene  in  which  a  manufacturer  releases  some  defective  airplane  cylinders 
to  the  Army  by  simply  telephoning  to  his  factory  and  giving  instruc- 
tions. But  in  reality  no  manufacturer  had  the  power  to  release  military 
equipment.  That  was  up  to  Army  inspectors  in  the  plant,  who  generally 
were  pretty  rigorous  in  their  tests.  But  this  point  has  apparently  been 


overlooked  by  some  Army  authorities  in  Germany.  Who  is  responsible 
for  choosing  .  .  .  Miller's  play.  Some  innocent  in  the  Army?  Or  some 

A  few  weeks  later,  the  newsletter  reported  that  "National  Com- 
mander Max  H.  Sorenson  of  Catholic  War  Veterans  protested  to 
War  Department  which  thereupon  revoked  its  plan  to  produce  the 
play  in  occupied  zones. .  . ."  The  editors  went  on  to  ask:  "Are  you 
speaking  out  publicly  against  Communist  plans  after  they  are  ex- 
posed in  Counterattack?  Max  Sorenson's  public  protest  in  this  case 
brought  quick  results.  It  should  serve  as  an  example  to  many 

The  history  of  the  next  seven  years  showed  that  it  served  as  a  very 
good  example. 

Counterattack  turned  its  attention  more  and  more  to  the  enter- 
tainment world.  Many  of  the  names  later  listed  in  Red  Channels 
began  to  get  frequent  mention  in  the  newsletter.  There  were  de- 
mands that  such  people  be  ostracized  by  sincere  and  conscientious 
anti-Communists.  When  they  appeared  on  radio  or  television, 
Counterattack  supporters  were  urged  to  protest. 

Roughly  one  month  before  Red  Channels  came  out,  the  news- 
letter notified  its  readership  that  "certain  groups  in  the  Association 
of  Actors  and  Artistes  of  America,  Radio  and  Television  Directors 
Guild,  and  Radio  Writers  Guild  have  gotten  together  to  form  an 
organization  to  fight  what  they  claim  is  a  'blacklist'  of  radio  and 
tv  performers  who  are  considered  'liberal  or  leftist.' "  Counter- 
attack noted  that  the  immediate  cause  of  this  step  was  the  firing 
of  director  Betty  Todd,  who  pleaded  the  Fifth  Amendment  before 
an  investigating  body.  "What,"  Counterattack  asked,  "to  do?"  .  .  . 
"You  have  written  to  CBS  before  to  criticize  the  appearance  of 

*  At  $24  a  year  Counterattack  could  not  expect  a  mass  circulation.  It  did  depend 
though  on  having  influential  subscribers  capable  of  alerting  and  mobilizing  a  much 
larger  group. 


performers  with  pro-Communist  records  on  its  programs.  Now 
write  to  Wm.  S.  Paley,  Chairman  of  the  Board  of  CBS,  at  485  Madi- 
son Avenue,  New  York  City.  Congratulate  him  for  the  action 
CBS  has  taken  in  this  case,  and  tell  him  to  stick  to  his  position  in 
spite  of  any  pressure  exerted  to  reverse  it.  Let  him  know  that  you 
back  him  up  completely." 

Shortly  afterwards  it  was  June,  1950. 

The  period  from  June  20  to  June  30,  1950,  was  a  kind  of  anti- 
Communists'  Ten  Days  That  Shook  the  World.  In  the  pages  of 
the  seismographic  tabloids  in  New  York,  the  political  rumbles  were 
picked  up  in  rapid  succession.  On  Tuesday,  June  20,  columnist 
Drew  Pearson  struck  out  in  the  Mirror  at  Representative  Wood, 
then  Chairman  of  the  House  Un-American  Activities  Committee, 
for  not  following  through  on  Parnell  Thomas'  investigation  of 
Hollywood.  On  Wednesday,  June  21,  Ed  Sullivan  in  the  Daily 
News  predicted:  "A  bombshell  will  be  dropped  into  the  offices  of 
radio-tv  networks,  advertising  agencies  and  sponsors  this  week, 
with  the  publication  of  Red  Channels."  On  Thursday,  Red  Chan- 
nels was  published.  The  next  day,  June  23,  the  Mirror  reported: 


Details  of  Red  infiltration  in  the  radio  and  television  broadcast  fields, 
together  with  names  of  well-known  personalities  allegedly  linked  with 
Communist  causes  are  contained  in  the  book  "Red  Channels,"  pub- 
lished yesterday. 

The  book  was  compiled  by  the  editors  of  "Counterattack,"  a  weekly 
anti-Communist  newsletter,  with  the  help  of  former  FBI  agents,  includ- 
ing Theodore  Kirkpatrick,  specialist  in  Communist  cases. 

Methods  used  by  the  Communists  to  ensnare  radio  and  television 
artists  are  presented  in  the  book,  which  describes  a  "blacklist"  system 
whereby  they  attempt  to  freeze  anti-Red  persons  out  of  the  industry. 
Those  who  support  the  Communists,  the  book  says,  are  boosted  with 
better  jobs. 

On  Sunday,  two  days  later,  the  first  reports  of  the  Korean  con- 
flict began  trickling  across  the  pages  of  the  nation's  newspapers. 


Five  days  later,  when  Walter  WinchelTs  Girl  Friday's  report  ap- 
peared in  the  Mirror,  she  spoke  of  a  shakeup  in  radio-tv  and  cited 
as  the  cause  of  it  not  Red  Channels  but  that  other  explosion  —  the 
Korean  War.  "Dear  Mr.  W.,"  Girl  Friday  wrote,  "The  Korean 
crisis  sent  network  officials  into  action  to  rid  programs  of  'persons 
who  might  embarrass  them.'  " 

The  editors  of  Counterattack,  throughout  the  summer,  kept  their 
readers  informed  of  Red  Channels'  impact.  The  day  after  Red 
Channels  was  published,  Counterattack  warned: 

IN  AN  EMERGENCY  (at  any  given  time) 


one  engineer  in  master  control  at  a  radio  network 

one  director  in  a  radio  studio 

one  VOICE  before  a  microphone 

Two  weeks  later  it  was  able  to  report:  "Nationwide  Reception 
of  Red  Channels  Is  Overwhelmingly  Favorable.  Since  publication 
of  Counterattack's  report,  two  weeks  ago,  on  Communist  influence 
in  the  radio  and  television  industry,  favorable  notices  and  praise 
for  Red  Channels  have  appeared  in  broadcasting  industry  publica- 
tions and  in  daily  newspapers  from  New  York  to  Los  Angeles.  Ed 
Sullivan,  master  of  ceremonies  of  the  popular  tv  show  Toast  of  the 
Town,'  praised  Red  Channels  highly  in  his  nationally  syndicated 
column,  'Little  Old  New  York.'  One  of  the  things  stressed  by 
Sullivan  was  the  importance  and  power  of  Counterattack  hi  the 
radio  and  television  industry." 

The  newsletter,  however,  added  that  "Counterattack,  in  itself,  has 
no  power  or  importance.  Any  influence  Counterattack  has  exerted 
for  good  in  the  broadcasting  industry  has  come  from  the  loyal 

*Val  Peterson,  Administrator  of  Federal  Civil  Defense,  stated  in  June,  1955, 
that  "in  actual  civil  defense  emergencies,  use  would  be  made,  as  required,  of  the 
various  forms  of  existing  communications  which  are  governed  by  appropriate 
Federal  Communications  Commission  regulations." 


freedom-loving  Americans  who  are  subscribers  and  who  act  on  the 
information  given  in  the  newsletter." 

One  of  the  first  Red  Channels  listees  to  come  forward  with  an 
"explanation"  was  actor  Roger  De  Koven,  who  had  one  citation 
(the  Waldorf  Peace  Conference) .  In  the  July  7  edition  of  Counter- 
attack his  case  was  covered. 

After  a  consultation  which  impressed  Counterattack  with  his  sin- 
cerity, De  Koven  signed  a  statement  embodying  the  following  clauses: 
"1.  He  has  absolutely  no  sympathy  for  the  Communist  movement, 
domestic  or  foreign  and  is  opposed  to  totalitarians  of  all  kinds.  2.  He 
believes  that  the  present  government  of  Russia  under  Stalin,  is  an 
absolute  dictatorship  and  completely  undemocratic.  3.  At  the  time  he 
agreed  to  sponsor  the  Waldorf  Conference  he  did  not  know  that  it  was 
a  Communist  front  affair.  If  he  had  known  its  true  nature  he  would 
not  have  sponsored  it.  His  stand  on  this  matter  applies  to  all  Commu- 
nist fronts,  present  or  future.  4.  When  he  agreed  to  read  the  speech 
of  Dr.  Juan  Marinello  of  Cuba  and  message  of  writer  Thomas  Mann 
at  the  Conference,  he  did  not  know  that  Marinello  was  Chairman  of 
Communist  Party  of  Cuba  or  that  Mann  had  an  extensive  record  of 
Communist  front  activity.* 

Red  Channels  listees  continued  to  be  named  each  week  in  the 
newsletter,  to  show  that  they  were  still  active  in  the  entertainment 
field.  The  immediate  cry  went  up  that  the  booklet  was  intended  as  a 
blacklist.  But  Counterattack  was  ready  for  the  charge.  On  July  28 
it  dealt  with  the  problem: 

But  the  whole  "blacklist"  question  is  a  sham.  "Blacklisting,"  the 
firing  of  a  person  (or  refusal  to  hire  him)  for  .union  activity,  is  for- 
bidden by  federal  and  state  laws.  A  union  local  resolution  cannot  add 
strength  to  these  laws.  They  are  already  completely  effective. 

Groups  interested  in  this  campaign  are  really  concerned  about  what 
they  call  "political"  blacklisting.  But  broadcasting  companies  don't 

*  De  Koven  was  cited  solely  for  his  participation  in  the  Waldorf  Peace  Confer- 
ence: "translated  message  received  from  Thomas  Mann;  also  translated  speech  of 
Dr.  Juan  Marinello  of  Cuba." 


blacklist    Republicans,    Democrats,    Socialists    or    any    other    loyal 

They  do  have  an  obligation,  as  a  matter  of  public  trust,  to  refuse  to 
hire  those  who  give  aid  and  comfort  to  Stalin  by  helping  his  U.S.  arm, 
the  Communist  Party,  or  its  numerous  front  organizations. 

Just  what  individuals  listed  in  Red  Channels  had  to  do  to  get  off 
the  hook  was  discussed  in  September,  1950.  In  a  zig-zag  of  affirma- 
tion and  denial,  Counterattack  tried  to  clear  up  the  matter: 

What  the  New  York  Times  Said  and  Didn't  Say.  Last  week  Counter- 
attack reported  that  the  New  York  Herald  Tribune  had  stated  in  an 
editorial  that  Ted  Kirkpatrick,  managing  editor  of  Counterattack,  had 
been  "quoted  as  announcing  that  none  whom  he  suspects  will  be 
absolved  until  they  have  come  to  him  with  positive  proof  of  their 
innocence"  and  that  later  "the  New  York  Times  reported  this  falsehood 
as  a  fact." 

Actually  the  Times  didn't  say  quite  that.  It  said  that  Kirkpatrick 
"said  he  believed  persons  accused  of  pro-Communist  sympathies  had 
to  offer  affirmative  proof  of  their  innocence."  Many  readers  inferred 
that  this  meant  that  such  proof  had  to  be  offered  to  him,  though  the 
Times  didn't  say  so.  Naturally,  such  a  doctrine  is  repellent  to  Ameri- 
canism and  to  justice.  Nobody  who  is  merely  accused  of  anything  has 
to  offer  affirmative  proof  of  innocence  to  anybody. 

A  few  more  listees  came  forward  in  October  with  statements  of 
denial  and/or  recantation.  The  newsletter  noted  their  statements 
in  its  pages. 

Meanwhile,  Counterattack  subscribers  and  the  groups  they 
alerted  were  bombarding  the  networks  with  letters  and  receiving 
replies  from  one  network  (CBS)  assuring  them  that  "through 
our  control  of  programs  on  the  air,  we  believe  we  have  made  Com- 
munist infiltration  impossible."  Whereupon  the  newsletter  armed 
its  subscribers  with  the  names  of  nine  persons  who  had  recently 
appeared  on  CBS.  All  were  Red  Channels  listees.  It  seemed  clear 
that  CBS  and  Counterattack  were  talking  about  two  different  things 
when  they  spoke  of  "infiltration." 


About  this  time,  Red  Channels  was  fast  becoming  a  source  in 
itself.  The  booklet  of  course  has  long  been  replaced,  but  since  one 
of  its  authors*  has  stated  that  the  "basic  issue"  of  such  compila- 
tions is  in  their  "accuracy,"  and  has  carried  this  conviction  over  into 
AWARE,  Inc.,  a  more  recent  effort  "to  combat  the  Communist  con- 
spiracy in  entertainment-communications,"  a  look  at  Red  Channels 
may  still  be  of  some  value. 

"The  most  remarkable  thing  about  the  whole  furor  over  AWARE," 
Vincent  Hartnett  wrote  the  Editor  of  The  New  York  Times,  "is 
that  none  of  A  WARE'S  critics  seem  inclined  to  discuss  the  basic 
issue:  Was  A  WARE'S  Publication  No.  12  accurate  or  was  it  not?" 
Publication  No.  12  is  a  compilation  similar  to  Red  Channels.  The 
compilations  are  lists  of  the  leftist  activities  of  various  show  people, 
and  the  burden  of  the  argument  seems  to  be  that  those  listed  are 
either  "dupes"  or  genuine  subversives.  On  the  basis  of  such  lists, 
people  are  decreed  "unemployable."  Hartnett  would  have  it  that 
the  "basic  issue"  is  whether  these  publications  faithfully  and  hon- 
estly report  what  is  in  their  source  documents.  The  defining  of  the 
"basic  issue,"  then,  seems  to  represent  in  its  small  way  the  Triumph 
of  the  Clerk.  Indeed  the  impression  left  by  a  study  of  Hartnett's 
work  leads  one  to  believe  that  he  has  modeled  himself  after 
Chaucer's  Clerk  of  Oxenford: 

Noght  o  word  spak  he  moore  than  was  neede 
And  that  was  seyd  in  forme  and  reverence 
And  short  and  quyk  and  full  of  hy  sentence 

In  defining  the  "basic  issue,"  Vincent  Hartnett  is  on  safe  grounds, 
for  there  is  no  question  of  his  clerkly  talents  —  Red  Channels  is  a 
model  of  transcription.  Its  compiler  faithfully  copied  down  the 
citations  in  the  original  sources.  His  slight  errors  are  wholly  for- 
givable, considering  the  tedium  of  the  task  he  set  himself  to.  So  if 

*  Vincent  Hartnett,  though  never  an  editor  of  Counterattack,  wrote  the  introduc- 
tion to  the  book  and  speaks  of  it  as  "my  Red  Channels." 


Hartnett  has  correctly  stated  the  "basic  issue,"  he  and  AWARE, 
Inc.  and  all  the  others  have  won  the  argument  hands  down. 

But  has  he? 

It  should  be  remembered  that  nearly  all  the  official  documents 
cited  by  the  professional  anti-Communist  are  tabulations  of  names 
made  by  the  Communists  themselves.  No  hearings  have  been  held 
to  determine  whether  or  not  the  use  of  these  names  was  authorized. 
In  some  cases  they  were  not  authorized.  But,  that  aside,  has  Vin- 
cent Hartnett  defined  the  "basic  issue"?  Are  those  whose  minds 
float  toward  ethical  abstracts,  who  wish  to  discuss  issues  of  "in- 
nuendo," "due  process,"  "civil  liberties,"  or  "slander"  out  of  touch 
with  current  reality?  That  is  a  quarrel  which  has  separated  pro- 
and  anti-blacklisting  factions  in  labor  unions,  newspaper  offices, 
theatre  companies  and  living  rooms  ever  since  Red  Channels 

Page  9  of  Red  Channels,  which  sets  forth  the  authors'  purposes, 
seems  to  be  the  most  unread  section  of  the  book.  Three  purposes 
are  listed: 

One,  to  show  how  the  Communists  have  been  able  to  carry  out  their 
plan  of  infiltration  of  the  radio  and  television  industry. 

Two,  to  indicate  the  extent  to  which  many  prominent  actors  and 
artists  have  been  inveigled  to  lend  their  names,  according  to  these 
public  records,  to  organizations  espousing  Communist  causes.  This, 
regardless  of  whether  they  actually  believe  in,  sympathize  with,  or  even 
recognize  the  cause  advanced. 

Three,  to  discourage  actors  and  artists  from  naively  lending  their 
names  to  Communist  organizations  or  causes  in  the  future. 

One  or  two  points,  raised  by  the  first  of  these  purposes,  still  seem 
worthy  of  discussion.  The  first  purpose  begs  two  questions:  Did  the 
Communists  have  a  "plan  of  infiltration"?  The  word  "infiltration" 
is  vague  at  best  -  it  might  mean  "gaining  influence"  or  "executive 
control"  or  it  might  mean  "technical  control."  Only  the  first  of  these 
would  fit  the  instances  cited  in  Red  Channels.  Granted,  however, 


that  there  was  such  a  plan,  the  second  question  is  whether  these 
subversive  elements  were  able  to  carry  it  out. 

Certainly,  in  the  beginning,  the  networks,  and  possibly  the  ad 
agencies  and  sponsors,  did  not  understand  what  Counterattack 
meant  by  "infiltration."  When  complaints  came  in  about  this  or  that 
one  working,  industry  spokesmen  answered  that  they  had  full 
control  over  everything  heard  on  the  air. 

The  second  purpose  indicates  that  the  compilers  are  not  separat- 
ing the  "guilty"  from  the  "innocent."  They  are  simply  listing  every- 
one at  the  scene  of  the  crime  —  and  leave  it  to  each  to  establish 
his  innocence.  "According  to  these  public  records,"  the  compilers 
assert.  And  since  the  citations  are  generally  accurate,  and  since 
Vincent  Hartnett  says  their  accuracy  is  the  "basic  issue,"  then  .  .  . 
But  what  happens  when  the  source  document  is  wrong? 

Pianist  Hazel  Scott,  who  was  listed  in  Red  Channels  and  is  the 
wife  of  a  Congressman,  was  given  the  opportunity  (because  of  her 
husband's  status)  to  testify,  under  oath,  about  her  Red  Channels 
listings.  She  had  nine  listings : 

National  Citizens  Political  Action  Committee 

Citizens  Non-Partisan  Committee  to  Elect  Benjamin  J.  Davis 

Progressive  Citizens   of  America    (Citizens   Committee   of  the 

Upper  West  Side) 
Musician's  Congress  Committee 
Artists'  Front  to  Win  the  War 

American  Committee  for  the  Protection  of  the  Foreign  Born 
American  Peace  Mobilization 
Joint  Anti-Fascist  Refugee  Committee 
Civil  Rights  Congress 

After  stating  that  she  had  never  been  notified  her  name  was  to 
appear  in  this  unfavorable  context,  Miss  Scott  ran  down  the  list: 

One  of  these  listings  was  for  an  appearance,  by  direction  of  my 
employer,  which  was  perfectly  proper  at  the  time.  Another  was  osten- 
sibly a  series  of  benefits  for  orphaned  children.  As  soon  as  I  found  out 
otherwise  I  discontinued  my  activity.  Still  another  involved  the  use  of 


my  name  three  years  after  I  played  a  benefit  for  a  group  which  there- 
after merged  with  one  that  developed  a  bad  name.  A  fourth  advertised 
that  I  was  a  guest  of  honor  at  a  dinner  I  never  went  to  or  even  heard  of. 
Three  others  I  refused  to  join.  The  remaining  two  I  never  heard  of. 

The  "guest  of  honor"  and  three  other  listings  in  Red  Channels 
were  supported  by  reference  to  the  House  Committee's  own  "Ap- 
pendix IX."  Did  the  Committee  decide  that  if  "Appendix  IX" 
could  be  so  wrong  about  one  person  the  document  should  be  re- 
examined?  No.  Did  it  apologize,  in  this  one  instance?  Again,  no. 
The  members  were  more  interested  in  whether  or  not  Red  Channels 
was  accurate  in  its  citation  of  the  document.  If  it  was,  why  was 
Miss  Scott  complaining?  Miss  Scott,  not  too  irrelevantly,  pointed 
out  that  it  was  of  little  consequence  that  Red  Channels  was  accurate 
if  "Appendix  IX"  was  not.  But  the  Committee  said  it  was  just  ad- 
vancing a  courtesy  to  her  and  was  not  interested  in  "Appendix  IX." 


The  First  Cases 

IN  RADIO  AND  TELEVISION,  blacklisting  began  in  a  blaze  of  pub- 
licity and  became  an  institution  in  secrecy. 

From  1949  until  '51  a  series  of  front-page  cases  spotlighted  the 
hiring  policies  of  the  networks,  sponsors  and  agencies  in  New  York. 
In  the  William  Sweets,  Jean  Muir,  Ireene  Wicker  and  Elmer  Rice 
cases,  the  public  was  involved  in  a  national  debate  on  the  question. 
Each  new  development  was  reported  in  the  theatrical  trade  press  and 
the  nation's  newspapers.  Editorials  were  written,  meetings  were 
held,  organized  groups  took  sides.  But  by  the  end  of  1951,  it  was 
clear  to  the  industry's  leaders  that  a  public  debate  about  political 
screening  would  arouse  a  controversy  almost  as  distasteful  as  any 
centered  on  the  alleged  pro-Communist  sympathies  of  producers, 
directors  and  actors. 

There  was  no  conspiratorial  decision  on  the  part  of  radio-tv 
management  —  there  was  simply  a  Gentlemen's  Agreement  to  keep 
silence.  The  industry  decided  that  the  public  debate  must  come  to 
an  end.  It  accepted  blacklisting  as  a  burden  of  its  day-to-day  ex- 
istence but,  for  good  reasons,  decided  that  this  fact  must  be  kept 
secret.  Blacklisting  was  institutionalized  behind  closed  doors. 

When  General  Foods  fired  the  television  actress  Jean  Muir  from 
her  role  in  "The  Aldrich  Family,"  protests  came  in  from  two  com- 
peting groups.  One  set  of  critics  threatened  to  boycott  General 
Foods  if  Jean  Muir  appeared  as  Henry  Aldrich's  mother;  another 
threatened  a  boycott  if  the  actress  were  fired.  Either  way,  the  com- 
pany stood  to  lose  customers.  More  than  that,  General  Foods  ran 


the  risk  of  having  its  name  associated  with  a  bitter  political  con- 
troversy. If,  to  satisfy  its  right-wing  critics,  it  decided  that  Jean 
Muir  could  not  work,  liberal  pressure  groups  would  denounce  it 
for  violating  American  tradition.  If  it  attempted  to  stand  by  that 
tradition  and  retain  the  actress,  it  faced  the  danger  of  being  charged 
with  indifference  to  national  security. 

The  resolution  —  for  General  Foods  and  ultimately  for  the  entire 
industry  of  networks,  advertising  agencies,  sponsors  and  packagers 
—  was  to  placate  the  right-wing  group  and  silence  the  liberals.  The 
strategic  key  was  secrecy.  If  there  were  a  discreet  check  into  the 
background  of  employees  before  they  were  hired,  then  the  local 
groups  of  the  American  Legion,  the  Catholic  War  Veterans,  or  the 
readers  of  Counterattack  would  have  no  cause  to  write  letters  or 
phone  in  their  protests.  And  since  there  would  be  no  firings,  be- 
cause controversial  persons  were  not  hired  in  the  first  place,  the 
liberal  groups  would  be  frustrated. 

The  inevitable  result  of  such  a  solution  was  the  institutionalizing 
of  blacklisting.  Some  advertising  agencies,  like  Batten,  Barton, 
Durstine  and  Osborn,  appointed  executives  to  serve  as  "security 
officers."  At  the  Columbia  Broadcasting  System  a  vice  president 
was  appointed  to  implement  the  network's  policy.  At  the  National 
Broadcasting  Company  and  a  number  of  advertising  agencies, 
legal  departments  were  entrusted  with  this  duty.  One  of  the  larger 
packagers  under  fire  set  up  a  "white  list."  A  new  profession  was 
developed.  Independent  "consultants,"  like  the  publishers  of 
Counterattack  and  Vincent  Hartnett  (the  keeper  of  File  13,  a.  land 
of  expanded  Red  Channels) ,  made  a  business  out  of  servicing  spon- 
sors and  agencies  who  did  not  have  a  full-time  executive  on  the  job. 

Political  discrimination  had  existed  in  the  radio  industry  before 
1949.  The  Communists  themselves  exerted  considerable  influence 
over  certain  shows.  On  these  programs,  Party  members  and  their 
sympathizers  found  work  easy  to  come  by;  their  enemies  were  often 


out  in  the  cold.  Various  sponsors  intervened  from  time  to  time  to 
bar  certain  persons  on  political  grounds.  A  well-known  radio 
producer  remembers  being  told  not  to  use  Mrs.  Roosevelt,  or 
anyone  like  her,  on  a  quiz  panel  long  before  blacklisting  was  insti- 
tutionalized. Yet  this  kind  of  discrimination  was  informal  and 
personal.  It  was  accepted  as  one  of  the  normal  hazards  in  a  highly 
competitive  industry.  Systematic  political  screening  did  not  begin 
until  some  time  in  late  1950  or  early  '51,  though  its  origins  date 
back  to  '49. 

In  the  spring  of  that  year,  William  Sweets,  a  well-known  radio 
director  employed  by  the  Phillips  H.  Lord  packaging  firm  in  New 
York,  was  told  that  the  sponsors  of  the  two  shows  he  worked  on 
had  raised  questions  about  his  political  associations.  Sweets  later 
said  publicly  that  he  was  forced  to  resign.  A  group  called  the  Voice 
of  Freedom  Committee  took  an  interest  in  his  case  and  loudly  pro- 
tested the  forced  resignation.  (Later,  attendance  at  Voice  of  Free- 
dom rallies  for  Sweets  was  noted  on  various  dossiers  as  evidence  of 
pro-Communist  sympathy.)  All  this  was  widely  publicized. 

Then,  in  the  fall  of  1950,  a  series  of  Red  Channels  cases  became 
public.  Jean  Muir  was  dropped  from  the  Aldrich  show;  Ireene 
Wicker,  the  Singing  Lady,  had  her  television  program  cancelled; 
Gypsy  Rose  Lee*  and  Hazel  Scott  were  under  attack.  Around  the 
same  time,  CBS,  the  Young  and  Rubicam  agency  and  General 
Foods  (sponsor  in  the  Jean  Muir  case)  began  to  discuss  the  difn- 

*  Miss  Lee  was  attacked  by  Edward  damage,  a  prominent  Chicago  Legionnaire. 
She  had  been  cited  in  Red  Channels  for  collaborating  with  four  groups  labelled 
Red.  When  the  charge  was  made,  she  drew  up  a  list  of  about  300  of  her  benefit 
appearances  which  Red  Channels  failed  to  mention.  "Entertainers  are  always  being 
asked  to  help  causes,  and  they  all  sound  innocuous,"  she  stated.  "Should  we  wire 
our  Congressmen  to  investigate  before  we  do  a  benefit  performance?  I'm  not  a 
Red  and  never  have  been." 

Robert  E.  Kintner,  president  of  the  American  Broadcasting  Company,  refused 
to  act  on  damage's  complaint,  stating  that  he  would  not  accept  Red  Channels  as 
gospel.  He  demanded  that  damage  provide  "proof  that  Gypsy  is  a  Communist." 
damage  could  only  refer  to  Red  Channels,  and  the  case  ended  there. 


culties  surrounding  the  employment  of  Philip  Loeb,  who  played 
Jake  on  "The  Goldbergs."  These  cases  attracted  headlines. 

In  1951  the  McCarran  Internal  Security  Subcommittee  held 
hearings  on  the  "Subversive  Infiltration  of  Radio,  Television  and  the 
Entertainment  Industry."  Two  radio  writers  invoked  the  Fifth 
Amendment  at  this  hearing.  A  number  of  friendly  witnesses  told 
of  Communist  efforts  to  blacklist  anti-Communists  in  the  industry. 
When  the  Committee  released  an  edited  version  of  the  hearings 
(immediately  before  a  Radio  Writers  Guild  election  in  the  fall  of 
1952),  the  story  hit  the  front  pages. 

By  1952,  a  writer,  actor,  director  or  producer  listed  in  Red 
Channels,  cited  in  Counterattack  or  otherwise  charged  with  Com- 
munist sympathies  found  it  extremely  difficult,  if  not  impossible,  to 
get  work  without  first  being  cleared.  By  this  time  political  screen- 
ing was  almost  universally  practiced  on  Madison  Avenue.  An 
elaborate  blacklisting  machinery  had  been  set  up.  But  in  the 
cases  which  arose  before  1952  the  elements  were  all  present. 

In  the  late  Forties  an  executive  at  the  Phillips  H.  Lord  office  in 
New  York  received  a  job-application  from  a  young  Navy  veteran 
named  Vincent  Hartnett.  Hartnett  was  hired  by  the  radio  packag- 
ing firm. 

One  of  the  men  with  whom  Hartnett  worked  at  the  Lord  office 
was  Bill  Sweets,  who  had  many  friends  in  the  radio  field  and  was 
generally  regarded  as  a  top  director.  Sweets  was  in  charge  of 
"Gangbusters"  and  "Counterspy."  His  blacklisting  troubles  began 
one  day  when  he  was  informed  by  a  Lord  executive  that  Clarence 
Francis,  president  of  General  Foods,  and  Walter  Mack,  of  Pepsi- 
Cola  —  sponsors  of  the  Sweets  shows  —  had  received  letters  charg- 
ing that  the  programs  were  being  directed  by  a  Communist  who 
hired  other  Communists  and  discriminated  against  anti-Commu- 
nists. For  three  weeks  the  Lord  office  dealt  with  these  sponsors  and 
their  agencies  (Young  &  Rubicam  for  General  Foods;  Biow  for 


Pepsi-Cola)  in  an  effort  to  solve  the  problem.  But  eventually  the 
packaging  firm  executives  decided  that  they  had  to  choose  between 
Sweets  and  the  sponsors.  The  company  felt  it  could  not  afford  to 
lose  two  such  big  accounts.  Sweets  was  asked  to  turn  in  his 

The  director  was  permitted  to  remain  at  his  job  until  the  season 
was  completed,  but  his  right  to  name  his  own  casting  lists  was 
limited  immediately.  There  were  rumors  in  the  office  at  the  time 
that  Hartnett  was  exercising  an  influence  over  the  choice  of  actors 
for  the  shows,  but  they  have  never  been  substantiated.  In  any  event, 
during  the  same  period  Hartnett  began  to  write  as  a  specialist  on 
Communist  infiltration  into  the  radio-tv  industry.  It  was  widely 
known  that  an  anonymous  article  on  that  subject  which  appeared  in 
The  Sign,  a  Catholic  monthly  published  hi  New  Jersey,  was  written 
by  him.  And  in  1950,  Hartnett  collaborated  with  the  editors  of 
Counterattack  on  Red  Channels. 

During  the  summer  of  1949,  Sweets  was  out  of  New  York.  The 
Radio  Directors  Guild  tried  to  negotiate  his  case  with  the  Lord 
office  but  failed.  Earlier,  Sweets  had  resigned  his  post  as  National 
President  of  that  Guild  when  he  was  called  upon  to  sign  a  non- 
Communist  affidavit.*  In  announcing  Sweets'  resignation,  Nicky 
Burnett,  executive  secretary  of  the  Radio  Directors,  had  described 
him  as  a  "fighter  against  communism."  (Sweets  remained  a  mem- 
ber of  the  Guild  hi  good  standing  after  he  left  the  presidency.) 

That  same  summer  Sweets  was  approached  by  the  Voice  of  Free- 
dom Committee  and  asked  to  appear  at  a  rally  in  New  York.  The 
Committee,  which  had  been  organized  to  support  liberal  com- 

*  Sweets  later  stated:  "The  only  unions  whose  officers  are  required  to  sign  the 
affidavit  are  those  which  desire  the  service  of  the  National  Labor  Relations  Board. 
The  Union  of  which  I  was  international  president,  the  Radio  and  Television 
Directors  Guild,  has  had  no  need  up  to  the  present  time  of  the  Labor  Relations 
Board's  services,  and  therefore  has  not  filed  non-Communist  affidavits  with  the 
Board  .  .  .  My  reason  for  not  signing  such  an  affidavit  was  and  is  that  once 
people  start  asking  for  affidavits,  they  sometimes  don't  know  when  to  stop." 


mentators  and  harass  "reactionaries,"  used  more  or  less  the  same 
techniques  the  pro-blacklisting  groups  later  relied  on.  When  a 
"liberal"  commentator  was  dropped,  or  a  "reactionary"  newscaster 
appeared  on  the  air,  the  Voice  of  Freedom  screamed  and  its  fol- 
lowers directed  their  protests  to  stations  or  networks. 

The  VOF  meeting  for  Sweets  was  held  at  the  Hotel  Abbey  in 
New  York,  August  11,  1949.  Variety  reported  that  about  200 
writers,  directors  and  actors  attended  the  meeting.  (Later,  when 
they  were  trying  to  clear  themselves,  many  had  to  "explain"  why 
they  attended.)  In  his  speech  at  the  meeting,  Sweets  charged  that 
the  industry  was  developing  a  blacklisting  policy.  He  charged  that 
the  American  Legion  maintained  a  "list"  of  actors  and  actresses  in 
Hollywood  (quoting  columnist  Jimmy  Fidler  as  his  authority). 
"As  I  see  it,"  he  told  his  supporters,  "a  blacklist  is  a  device,  per- 
fectly legal  in  most  instances  —  whereby  the  principle  of  'exclu- 
sivity' may  be  exercised.  It  is  a  list  of  people  who  are  to  be  ex- 
cluded, and  it  is  the  list  that  is  usually  kept  secret.  Kept  secret 
because  in  a  democracy  to  appear  to  be  exclusive  isn't  the  thing  to 
do."  He  concluded:  "Nor  is  it  loyalty  to  the  United  States  that  is 
really  questioned  in  the  case  of  persons  whose  names  are  on  black- 
lists today.  It  is  rather  their  loyalty  to  ideas  of  free  action  — 
loyalty  I  am  convinced  in  my  case  —  to  the  ideas  of  the  National 
Association  of  Manufacturers  and  the  American  Association  of 
Advertising  Agencies  ...  I  do  not  intend,  at  the  request  of  some 
sponsors,  to  give  up  my  sponsorship  of  meetings  such  as  this  —  of 
May  Day  parades,  or  of  world  peace." 

Later  that  fall  the  Voice  of  Freedom  Committee  held  another 
protest  meeting  at  Town  Hall  and  circulated  a  leaflet  which  repro- 
duced newspaper  stories  about  blacklisting,  statements  from  various 
theatrical  unions  and  guilds,  and  carried  a  message  from  Sweets. 
(This  rally  was  also  cited  in  Red  Channels  as  a  Communist 
undertaking. ) 

In  Sweets'  speech  at  the  first  rally  he  made  no  charges  against 


Hartnett  by  name.  Whatever  connection  is  made  between  the 
Sweets  firing  and  Hartnett's  own  activity  at  the  time  is  largely  a 
deduction  drawn  from  the  "talent  consultant's"  later  operations. 
Nevertheless,  it  is  clear  that  Hartnett's  association  with  the  Lord 
company,  and  his  experience  in  the  Sweets  case,  contributed  to  the 
thesis  he  expanded  on  in  The  Sign,  Red  Channels,  American  Mer- 
cury and  the  American  Legion  Magazine. 

The  case  of  William  Sweets  foreshadowed  what  was  to  come. 
The  central  point  was  the  proposition  that  Communists  were  using 
their  influence  in  the  industry  to  hire  their  friends  and  discriminate 
against  their  enemies.  This  allegation  persisted  throughout  the  de- 
velopment of  blacklisting  and  continued  long  after  most  of  the 
people  charged  with  Communist  sympathies  could  no  longer  find 
work.  As  late  as  the  summer  of  1955,  Godfrey  P.  Schmidt,  presi- 
dent of  AWARE,  Inc.,  repeated  the  charge  in  a  dispute  with  John 
Crosby,  radio-tv  writer  for  the  New  York  Herald  Tribune. 

But  more  important  than  the  actual  personalities  involved  in  the 
Sweets  affair  was  the  reaction  within  the  industry  itself.  Significant 
companies  were  concerned:  General  Foods,  Pepsi-Cola,  Young  & 
Rubicam,  Biow  and  Phillips  H.  Lord,  Inc.  Their  behavior  was  the 
first  indication  of  how  relatively  easy  it  would  be  for  outside  pres- 
sure groups  to  gain  significant  control  over  hiring  and  firing. 

The  sponsors  were  reacting  to  a  few  letters.  There  was  no  evi- 
dence of  an  organized  boycott;  only  a  handful  of  listeners  were 
protesting.  But  the  officials  decided  to  act  on  the  complaints  and 
called  in  the  advertising  agencies  to  assist  them.  Within  three  weeks 
it  was  generally  agreed  that  Sweets  should  be  asked  to  resign.  On 
the  part  of  the  packager,  the  decision  was  clearly  based  on  commer- 
cial considerations  —  a  fear  of  losing  two  major  accounts  —  and  not 
on  any  dissatisfaction  with  the  director  himself  or  with  the  way  he 
was  casting  his  shows. 

The  radio-tv  industry,  of  course,  is  singularly  susceptible  to  pres- 
sure. Hollywood  certainly  goes  out  of  its  way  to  avoid  offending 


any  significant  section  of  the  public.  But  the  film  industry  has  been 
willing  to  deal  with  controversial  subjects  (racial  prejudice,  for 
example)  as  long  as  the  prospect  of  a  heightened  interest  in  some 
quarters  promises  to  compensate  for  moviegoers  who  might  be  lost. 
The  radio-tv  industry,  though,  is  devoted  to  advertising.  Sponsors 
seek  "100%  acceptability"  for  their  products.  Any  group,  however 
small,  which  is  alienated  because  of  the  content  of  a  radio  or 
television  show,  or  because  of  a  performer  on  the  show,  must  be 

The  Sweets  affair  differed  from  most  of  the  blacklisting  cases 
which  came  later  in  so  far  as  it  was  allowed  to  become  public.  In 
1949  it  seemed  to  be  an  isolated  incident.  Red  Channels  —  and  the 
Korean  War  —  were  yet  to  come.  The  full  development  of  black- 
listing would  take  two  or  three  years.  Still  it  now  seems  clear  that 
the  ultimate  outcome  was  inevitable  from  the  beginning.  For  if  the 
industry  would  surrender  to  pressure  in  1949,  then  as  the  Cold  War 
intensified  (and  the  pressures  intensified),  it  was  only  a  matter 
of  time  until  systematic  political  screening  would  become  an 

During  the  first  year  of  Red  Channels'  existence,  blacklisting 
developed  in  contradictory  fashion.  At  one  point  General  Foods, 
the  sponsor  involved  in  both  the  Sweets  and  Jean  Muir  cases,  an- 
nounced that  it  would  no  longer  fire  performers  simply  because 
they  were  "controversial."  But  by  the  middle  of  1951,  that  brave 
statement  seemed  in  retrospect  to  have  been  merely  a  momentary 
challenge  to  an  overwhelming  trend.  Throughout  1950  various 
pressure  groups  and  powerful  individuals  combined  their  efforts  in 
a  campaign  to  make  Red  Channels  a  near  absolute  criterion  for  hir- 
ing in  the  radio-tv  industry.  By  and  large  the  campaign  succeeded. 

"The  Aldrich  Family"  was  a  television  program  sponsored  by 
General  Foods.  In  August,  1950,  Young  &  Rubicam,  General 
Foods'  advertising  agency  for  the  Jell-O  show,  announced  that  Jean 


Muir,  a  former  movie  actress,  had  been  assigned  the  role  of  Mother 
Aldrich.  Miss  Muir  was  to  make  her  first  appearance  on  August  27. 
Shortly  after  the  announcement  that  she  would  join  the  show,  an 
editor  of  Counterattack,  Theodore  Kirkpatrick,  called  several  per- 
sons and  asked  them  to  organize  a  protest.  Jean  Muir  was  listed  in 
Red  Channels.  As  a  result  of  the  protests,  Miss  Muir  was  dropped 
from  the  show,  paid  the  full  amount  called  for  by  her  contract,  and 
another  former  movie  actress,  Nancy  Carroll,  took  her  place. 

The  people  who  made  the  phone  calls  resulting  in  the  Muir  fir- 
ing were  typical  of  the  individuals  and  pressure  groups  that  are  still 
the  backbone  of  blacklisting.  For  the  most  part  they  are  vocal  sup- 
porters of  the  far  right  wing  of  American  politics.  Several  of  them 
later  emerged  as  vociferous  partisans  of  Senator  McCarthy.  Though 
few  in  number,  they  represented  the  threat  of  a  potential  boycott 
and  a  controversy  that  could  only  be  anathema  to  any  corporation 
intent  on  pleasing  everybody. 

Among  those  Kirkpatrick  called  was  Mrs.  Hester  McCullough 
of  Greenwich,  Connecticut,  wife  of  a  Time  editor.  Mrs.  McCul- 
lough had  recently  been  involved  in  a  legal  suit  with  Paul  Draper, 
the  dancer,  and  the  harmonica  player  Larry  Adler.  She  had  ac- 
cused these  two  entertainers  of  pro-Communist  sympathy. 

Rabbi  Benjamin  Schultz,  of  the  Joint  Committee  Against  Com- 
munism in  New  York,  called  to  protest  Miss  Muir's  appearance 
and  claimed  he  was  speaking  for  two  million  Americans.  Neither  in 
the  Muir  case  nor  in  those  that  came  up  later  did  the  industry  at- 
tempt to  check  on  whether  those  who  acted  as  organization  spokes- 
men had  received  authorization  from  their  memberships.  There  is 
little  doubt,  though,  that  in  most  cases  they  would  have  been  given 
general  support.  But  how  many  people  were  aroused  was  hardly 
relevant,  for  to  sponsors  even  a  small  group  represents  a  potential 

In  1952  Merle  Miller  reported  in  The  Judges  and  the  Judged 
that  General  Foods  hired  Dr.  George  Gallup's  research  organization 


to  make  a  survey  of  the  actual  impact  of  the  Muir  case.  This  was 
during  a  violent  controversy  debated  in  newspapers  throughout  the 
United  States.  Miller  quoted  an  official  spokesman  for  General 

Less  than  40%  [of  the  cross  section]  had  ever  heard  of  the  Muir 
affair.  And  of  those  that  had,  less  than  three  percent  could  relate  the 
name  of  General  Foods  or  the  product  involved,  Jell-O,  with  the  name 
of  Muir.  They  tied  up  the  name  of  Muir  hazily  with  General  Mills, 
even  the  Bell  Telephone  Company.  To  check  up  further,  we  telephoned 
several  General  Foods  sales  offices  in  other  cities  like  Chicago.  We 
asked  "How  has  the  Muir  publicity  affected  our  sales?"  The  answer 
invariably  was,  "Muir?  Who's  Muir?" 

The  General  Foods  sales  offices  did  not  know  the  name  Jean 
Muir  but  the  name  was  to  become  symbolic  in  the  radio-tv  industry. 
Her  firing  was  the  first  directly  attributable  to  Red  Channels. 

Today  Miss  Muir,  though  cleared,  no  longer  appears  on  televi- 
sion. "A  performer  who  has  even  been  unfairly  charged  with  com- 
munism —  as  Jean  Muir  was  —  is  like  a  bruised  apple,"  a  tv  execu- 
tive explained  not  long  ago.  "You  understand  don't  you?  —  the 
brown  spot  remains."  Miss  Muir  —  who  was  celebrating  her  twen- 
tieth year  in  show  business  on  the  very  day  she  was  fired  — has 
turned  her  energies  to  social  work. 

The  Muir  affair  reveals  something  about  the  pressures  which 
beset  the  industry.  The  case  of  Ireene  Wicker  is  interesting  for  what 
it  tells  about  Red  Channels  and  the  attitudes  of  those  professionally 
involved  in  agitating  for  political  screening.  Miss  Wicker  signed  a 
contract  to  do  a  television  show  for  the  Kellogg  Company  hi  Feb- 
ruary, 1949.  The  contract  was  renewed  a  year  later.  Then  in  June, 
1950  her  name  was  listed  in  Red  Channels  and  in  August  the  con- 
tract was  cancelled. 

When  Red  Channels  came  out,  John  Crosby,  the  radio-tv  column- 
ist, telephoned  Miss  Wicker  to  tell  her  she  was  among  those  listed. 


Later,  Crosby  wrote  a  column  entitled  "Any  of  You  Children  Been 
Subverted  Recently?"  He  wrote: 

Somebody  put  her  name  down  on  the  Committee  [for  the  re-election 
of  Benjamin  J.  Davis]  and  she  has  been  smeared  like  so  many  people 
are  smeared  nowadays  ...  In  1945  — her  most  suspicious  activity  — 
Miss  Wicker  loaned  her  house  for  a  benefit  for  Spanish  refugee  chil- 
dren. Miss  Wicker  was  under  the  misapprehension  that  children  were 
essentially  non-political  animals  .  .  . 

After  she  discovered  she  had  been  "listed,"  Ireene  Wicker  de- 
cided to  visit  the  Counterattack  office  and  talk  with  Theodore 
Kirkpatrick.  Kirkpatrick  discussed  the  Daily  Worker  story  which 
numbered  her  among  those  who  signed  a  nominating  petition  for 
Benjamin  Davis,  Communist  candidate  for  the  New  York  City 
Council  in  1945.  Miss  Wicker  told  the  Counterattack  editor  she 
had  not  been  in  New  York  City  at  the  time  the  petition  was  circu- 
lated early  in  1945,  had  never  even  heard  of  Benjamin  Davis  and 
certainly  could  not  recall  ever  having  signed  a  petition  for  his 
nomination.  Kirkpatrick  answered  that  he  had  reprinted  the  facts 
as  they  appeared  in  the  Daily  Worker. 

He  shifted  the  conversation  then  to  a  discussion  of  what  Miss 
Wicker  had  done  to  express  her  opposition  of  communism.  She 
cited  several  patriotic  activities  —  she  conducted  an  "I'm  glad  I  am 
an  American  because.  .  .  ."  contest  for  children,  she  recorded  a 
series  based  on  American  history  entitled  "Sing  a  Song  of  History," 
etc.  But  Kirkpatrick  was  not  impressed.  Then  the  actress  men- 
tioned that  she  had  allowed  her  only  son  to  enlist  in  the  Royal 
Canadian  Air  Force  before  he  was  18.  The  boy,  who  was  shot 
down  in  Europe,  joined  up  in  1940,  during  the  Hitler-Stalin  pact, 
a  time  when  American  Communists  were  engaged  in  their  "Yanks 
Are  Not  Coming"  campaign.  But  even  that  was  not  enough.  Miss 
Wicker  left  the  Counterattack  office  without  convincing  Kirkpatrick. 

Later  she  obtained  a  court  order  so  her  lawyer  could  examine 


all  30,000  names  on  the  nominating  petitions  for  Benjamin  Davis. 
Her  name  was  not  among  those  listed. 
In  October,  Counterattack  reported: 

Ireene  Wicker  .  .  .  has  made  the  following  statement  to  Counter- 
attack: "I  emphatically  declare  I  am  not,  never  have  been  and  never 
could  be  a  Communist  or  Communist  sympathizer  in  any  sense  of 
these  terms.  The  fundamental  doctrine  of  Communism  is  abhorrent 
to  me.  It  is  in  direct  opposition  to  the  American  principles  I  have 
always  upheld  and  advocated."  The  statement  in  Red  Channels  that  the 
Daily  Worker  of  September  15,  1945  reported  her  as  a  sponsor  of  the 
Artists,  Writers  and  Professional  Division  of  the  Committee  for  the 
Re-election  of  Benjamin  J.  Davis  is  true,  Miss  Wicker  says.  She  states, 
however,  that  she  was  not  aware  of  this  fact  until  publication  of  Red 
Channels.  She  absolutely  denies  the  Daily  Worker  report  that  she  was 
a  sponsor  of  this  committee.  She  also  denies  categorically  that  she  ever 
supported  Davis  for  re-election,  that  she  gave  his  campaign  committee 
permission  to  use  her  name  or  that  she  knew  her  name  had  been  used 
by  the  committee.  Miss  Wicker  recently  wrote  a  letter  to  the  Daily 
Worker  demanding  a  retraction  of  its  report  that  she  sponsored  the 
Davis  committee.  She  received  a  reply  from  David  Freedman  of  the 
law  firm  of  Unger,  Freedman  and  Fleischer,  attorneys  for  the  Daily 
Worker,  which  states  that  the  Worker  story  was  based  on  a  news  release 
from  the  Davis  committee  which  did  not  contain  the  signatures  of  the 
sponsors  listed.  Freedman  said  that  the  Daily  Worker  "regrets  very 
much  if  that  publication  contained  any  error  of  fact." 

Counterattack's  action  in  printing  Miss  Wicker's  statement,  and 
those  of  other  Red  Channels  listees,  was  picked  up  by  the  New 
York  press.  Part  of  the  newsletter's  release,  as  quoted  in  the  New 
York  Post  for  October  27,  1950,  said:  ''Counterattack  wishes  to 
repeat  that  Red  Channels  did  not  call  Miss  Wicker,  or  any  other 
person  mentioned  in  the  report,  a  Communist  or  a  Communist  sym- 
pathizer." The  Daily  News  radio  and  television  column  for  the  27th, 
written  by  Ben  Gross,  was  headed  "Ireene  Wicker  Cleared."  Gross 
concluded  his  piece :  "Last  night,  reports  circulated  in  broadcasting 
circles  that  both  Miss  Muir  and  Miss  Wicker  would  soon  return  to 


the  air."  And  the  next  day,  the  New  York  Mirror  commented 
"Ireene  Wicker  .  .  .  will  be  back  on  the  air  any  day  now.  She  has 
been  cleared  of  charges  that  she  was  a  sponsor  of  a  committee  .  .  ." 

But  years  were  to  pass  before  Ireene  Wicker  actually  returned 
to  the  air.  She  never  regained  the  professional  standing  she  had 
before  Red  Channels  was  published. 

When  her  agent  tried  to  sell  the  Singing  Lady  show  during  1951 
and  '52  he  heard:  "What  about  Red  Channels?  We  wouldn't  touch 
her  with  a  ten  foot  pole."  Her  only  work  during  this  period  was  a 
radio  series  on  a  small  station  in  North  Adams,  Massachusetts. 
(There  were  no  protests.)  Miss  Wicker  was  permitted  to  make 
guest  appearances.  She  was  once  interviewed  on  the  Tex  and  Jinx 
show,  but  after  a  second  program  with  them  had  been  scheduled, 
NBC  called  to  tell  her  it  was  cancelled.  Finally  in  1953  she  was 
given  an  ABC  show  which  went  on  the  air  Sundays  at  11 :30  in  the 
morning.  This  program  continued  through  1954  under  the  sponsor- 
ship of  Little  Lady  Toiletries.  During  the  entire  run  of  the  program 
only  one  protesting  letter  was  received.  The  program  was  finally 
dropped  but  Red  Channels  was  not  connected  with  the  decision  to 
give  it  up.  Since  then  Miss  Wicker  has  not  had  a  regular  show. 

Miss  Wicker's  post-Red  Channels  experience  illustrates  a  prob- 
lem faced  by  many  performers  who  are  blacklisted  and  later  cleared. 
At  the  time  of  her  trouble,  the  Singing  Lady  was  riding  a  wave  of 
popularity  built  up  over  a  period  of  years.  Then,  just  as  television 
was  beginning  to  boom  and  it  was  very  important  that  she  stay  in 
the  public  eye,  she  was  fired.  Though  she  has  long  since  been 
cleared,  it  is  impossible  for  her  to  regain  the  years  lost.  The  Red 
Channels  experience  has  obviously  had  a  permanent  effect  on  her 

On  September  26,  1950,  General  Foods  announced  it  was  "tem- 
porarily" suspending  the  policy  which  led  to  the  dismissal  of  Jean 
Muir.  In  making  this  statement  the  company  also  said  that  its 


action  had  been  prompted  by  the  questions  raised  about  Philip 
Loeb's  employment  on  "The  Goldbergs"  show.  Four  letters  had 
been  received  protesting  Loeb's  appearance.  According  to  the  press 
release,  three  were  addressed  to  CBS,  one  to  General  Foods. 

It  seemed  then  that  General  Foods  was  resisting  the  growth  of 
blacklisting  and  had  decided  that  some  kind  of  solution  could  be 
worked  out.  But  at  best,  this  was  a  surface  impression.  For  in 
the  statement  accompanying  the  General  Foods  announcement 
there  was  a  clear  implication  that  the  problem  was  anything  but 
solved.  General  Foods  said: 

Discussions  are  now  taking  place  in  the  industry  to  find  a  construc- 
tive solution  to  the  broad  problems  growing  out  of  such  disloyalty 
charges.  In  view  of  this  development  and  in  consideration  of  any  who 
are  associated  with  our  radio  and  television  programs,  General  Foods 
will  temporarily  suspend  application  of  the  company's  long  standing 
policy  covering  use  of  controversial  material  and  personalities.  We 
will  encourage  and  cooperate  with  any  constructive  effort  towards  a 
lasting  solution  which  will  be  fair  and  equitable  to  all  parties  concerned. 

Loeb  remained  on  "The  Goldbergs"  from  the  fall  of  1950  until 
spring,  '51.  During  that  period,  meeting  after  meeting  was  held  be- 
tween General  Foods,  CBS,  Young  and  Rubicam,  Gertrude  Berg, 
the  star  and  owner  of  the  show,  and  others  concerned  with  his 
problem.  No  "lasting  solution"  resulted  from  these  "constructive 
efforts."  Far  from  indicating  that  some  candid  method  of  dealing 
with  blacklisting  was  in  the  offing,  the  General  Foods'  statement 
actually  preluded  the  complete  triumph  of  political  screening. 

Loeb  once  told  about  a  meeting  held  during  the  period  when 
he  was  on  the  air  but  still  under  fire.  It  took  place  in  a  room  at  the 
General  Foods  office.  Clarence  Francis,  president  of  General 
Foods,  and  Frank  Stanton,  president  of  CBS,  were  there.  Loeb 
arrived  with  Mrs.  Berg.  Francis  asked  him  when  he  was  going  to 
clear  himself  and  remove  the  cloud  that  hung  over  him.  Loeb  said 
he  felt  "doomed"  when  the  suggestion  was  made.  He  had  thought 


it  was  going  to  be  possible  to  solve  his  problem  without  passing 
through  humiliating  "clearance"  procedures. 

It  all  began  in  the  summer  of  1950.  Mrs.  Berg  had  been  in  Holly- 
wood making  a  film.  When  she  returned  to  New  York  she  was  told 
about  Red  Channels;  Loeb  was  among  those  listed.  CBS  was  ex- 
pecting trouble  and  General  Foods  had  already  expressed  concern. 
Nothing  was  definite,  no  decisions  had  been  made,  but  some  action 
would  have  to  be  taken.  (If  General  Foods'  policy  statement  in  late 
September  was  accurate,  only  four  protests  had  been  received  at 
this  time;  yet  these  four  were  enough  to  precipitate  a  crisis  on  the 
top  level  of  the  industry.) 

Those  close  to  Mrs.  Berg  at  the  time  say  she  was  shocked.  She 
thought  it  "un-American"  that  anyone  should  demand  Loeb  be  fired 
on  the  basis  of  unproved  charges.  General  Foods  had  not  threatened 
to  cancel  the  show  and  Frank  Stanton  of  CBS  was  sympathetic. 
During  this  period  Mrs.  Berg  vigorously  defended  Loeb.  Blacklist- 
ing was  still  a  dirty  word  and  the  industry  had  not  yet  learned  to 
live  with  it.  Loeb  rejected  a  suggestion  that  he  make  a  speech  over 
the  Voice  of  America.  He  felt  that  this  would  involve  compromis- 
ing his  position;  by  going  through  even  this  much  of  a  "clearance" 
procedure,  he  thought  he  would  be  giving  support  to  those  who 
made  the  charges  against  him  in  the  first  place.  (He  later  denied 
under  oath  that  he  was  a  Communist. )  Eventually,  Loeb  did  agree 
to  make  some  public  statements  on  communism,  but  they  were  not 
widely  reported  and  did  little  to  help. 

The  Goldbergs  show,  with  Loeb  playing  Jake,  ran  for  39  weeks. 
During  that  time  there  were  numerous  meetings.  Every  13th  week 
the  situation  was  completely  reviewed  and  a  new  attempt  to  find  a 
solution  made  —  but  all  failed.  No  outside  agency  had  yet  moved  in 
to  take  over  the  industry's  responsibility  for  its  own  hiring  policies. 
There  were  suggestions  that  an  impartial  board  be  set  up  to  "judge" 
people  like  Loeb,  but  nothing  came  of  them.  Within  the  talent 
unions  there  was  agitation  for  some  kind  of  action,  but  the  unions 


were  already  so  rent  by  factional  struggles  over  the  blacklist  issue 
that,  again,  nothing  was  done. 

When  the  Goldbergs  show  ended  its  regular  season  in  the  spring 
of  1951  it  was  dropped  by  General  Foods  and  moved  over  to  NBC. 
And  when  it  returned  to  the  air,  Phil  Loeb  was  no  longer  playing 
Jake.  This,  then,  was  the  final  solution  of  the  problem.  In  the 
New  York  Journal- American  for  August  25,  1951,  radio-television 
columnist  Jack  O'Brian  announced  what  everyone  knew:  the  real 
reason  "The  Goldbergs"  had  lost  its  sponsor  on  CBS  was  Loeb's 
presence  on  the  program.  O'Brian  noted  that  Phil  Loeb  was  gone 
"after  a  long  and  luxurious  hiatus  in  [CBS's]  pink-tinged  boudoir." 

Loeb  reached  a  contract  settlement  with  Mrs.  Berg  in  January, 
1952.  But  as  the  late  George  Heller,  an  official  of  the  television 
artists  union,  said  at  the  time:  "And  so  a  settlement  was  made,  a 
financial  settlement  but  not  a  settlement  of  the  issue."  "The  issue," 
Loeb  stated  in  a  memo  to  the  national  board  of  the  Television 
Authority,  "is  my  blacklisting.  I  did  not  come  to  my  union  for  a 
financial  settlement  ...  I  came  for  truth  and  justice.  I  am  still 
seeking  truth  and  justice  ...  I  am  deprived  of  work  because  of  a 
cowardly,  furtive  smear  campaign.  The  issue  has  not  been  settled 
...  I  claim  that  although  innocent  I  have  been  ousted  from  my 
work  and  hounded  from  my  profession  by  a  dirty,  undercover  job." 

After  he  was  dropped  from  "The  Goldbergs,"  Loeb  worked  in 
the  theater.  He  appeared  in  "Time  Out  for  Ginger"  on  Broadway, 
and  went  on  tour  with  the  show.  In  Chicago,  Edward  damage*  of 
the  American  Legion  campaigned  against  Loeb's  appearance  and 
attempted  to  organize  a  boycott.  But  the  incident  did  not  develop 
into  a  public  controversy,  and  the  play  ran  for  ten  months. 

*  damage,  long  a  member  of  various  American  Legion  anti-subversive  commit- 
tees, is  the  leading  spokesman  for  his  point  of  view  in  the  Chicago  area.  During 
recent  years  damage  has  organized  campaigns  against  various  theatrical  people. 
Of  late,  however,  most  of  these  campaigns  have  failed.  "He  overplayed  his  hand," 
one  Chicago  newspaperman  said  of  him.  "Nobody  pays  much  attention  to  Ed 
any  more." 


Yet  Loeb  never  regained  confidence  in  himself.  He  was  bowed 
down  by  family  problems.  He  felt  that  he  had  been  victimized  by 
those  who  set  themselves  up  as  guardians  of  the  Republic.  He  grew 
increasingly  depressed  and  embittered.  Finally,  in  September,  1955, 
he  went  off  to  a  hotel  room  and  took  an  overdose  of  sleeping  pills  — 
and  in  a  few  of  the  news  stories  about  his  suicide,  there  was  some 
mention  of  his  blacklisting  difficulties. 

On  November  13,  1951,  Elmer  Rice  announced  his  resignation 
from  a  group  of  playwrights  who  were  doing  shows  for  the  "Celan- 
ese  Theater."  "I  now  find,"  Rice  wrote,  "that  the  names  of  actors 
selected  by  you  [Stellar  Enterprises,  the  packaging  corporation]  are 
submitted  for  approval  to  the  Ellington  advertising  agency,  whose 
client,  the  Celanese  Corporation  of  America,  is  the  commercial 
sponsor  of  this  program.  The  agency,  it  appears,  then  submits  these 
names  to  its  attorney,  Walter  Socolow,  for  'clearance'  from  the 
point  of  view  of  what  is  euphemistically  called  'public  relations.' 
What  this  means  in  effect  is  that  Mr.  Socolow  conducts  an  inquiry 
into  the  alleged  political  opinions  and  activities  of  the  actors  and 
bases  his  acceptance  or  rejection  upon  his  judgment  of  the  pro- 
priety of  their  political  beliefs."  Rice  went  on  to  claim  that  his  resig- 
nation was  motivated  by  the  fact  that  several  actors  had  been 
turned  down,  on  political  grounds,  for  the  leading  role  in  his  play 
"Counsellor  at  Law." 

Rice  concluded:  "The  air  does  not  belong  to  the  Ellington  agency 
nor  to  the  Celanese  Corporation  nor  to  the  networks. ...  It  is  about 
tune  that  this  shocking  situation  be  made  clear  to  the  American 

In  the  controversy  that  followed,  specific  facts  hi  Rice's  charges 
were  vehemently  denied.  Yet  no  one  questioned  his  basic  descrip- 
tion of  the  blacklisting  process.  In  replying  to  Rice,  Jesse  T.  Elling- 
ton, president  of  the  advertising  agency,  made  an  almost  classic 
statement  of  the  industry's  position.  He  held  that  he  and  his  agency 


had  made  every  attempt  to  heed  the  playwright's  demands  in  casting 
—  "We've  tried  to  lean  over  backwards  to  live  up  to  the  best  tradi- 
tions of  the  theatre  and  to  avoid  any  of  that  political  thing  hi  casting 
.  .  .  But  when  you  get  somebody  who  may  cause  a  lot  of  bad  pub- 
licity for  your  program,  you  do  have  to  be  a  little  careful.  It's  an 
ordinary  business  safeguard." 

This  was  to  be  the  industry's  rationale  as  political  screening  de- 
veloped into  an  institution:  first  a  reference  to  the  traditions  of  the 
theater  (and,  often  enough,  to  those  of  America) ,  then  a  word  about 
"business  safeguards."  In  almost  every  instance  the  safeguards  were 
the  overriding  considerations;  the  "political  thing"  became  all- 
important  in  casting. 

Later  that  same  year,  in  December,  1951,  Elmer  Rice  expanded 
on  his  comments  in  a  letter  written  after  the  death  of  the  well 
known  actress  Mady  Christians  (whose  last  months  were  made  mis- 
erable by  her  inclusion  in  Red  Channels).  Rice  wrote:  "It's  shock- 
ing. It's  gone  beyond  Red  Channels.  Everybody  has  a  private  list. 
Anybody's  career  can  be  destroyed.  Crass  commercial  cowardice 
has  become  more  important  than  standing  up  for  the  principles  of 
liberty.  I'm  hoping  that  various  actors  unions  will  start  taking 
definite  stands." 

The  Authors  League  of  America  decided  to  look  into  the  black- 
listing situation  after  Rice  spoke  out.  A  committee  made  up  of 
Ruth  Goetz,  Laura  Hobson  and  Rice  himself  was  appointed  to  in- 
vestigate the  situation  —  but  "only  with  respect  to  authors  listed  in 
Red  Channels."  The  committee  sent  out  a  questionnaire  to  the  51 
writers  who  were  listed;  about  30  answered.  Three  mam  lines  of 
questioning  were  pursued.  Has  Red  Channels  had  an  adverse  effect 
upon  your  employment?  Does  blacklisting  exist?  Are  you  willing 
to  testify  before  the  Federal  Communications  Commission? 

Almost  all  who  answered  were  acutely  aware  of  blacklisting; 
some  said  they  had  not  been  personally  affected.  At  a  meeting  of 
the  Authors  League  held  after  the  investigation,  novelist  John 


Hersey  summed  up  the  results  by  saying  that  the  League  had  posi- 
tive proof  of  blacklisting.  But  the  most  significant  answer  was  this : 
the  majority  of  writers  who  stated  they  knew  for  sure  that  black- 
listing was  rife  also  declined  to  testify  before  the  Federal  Commu- 
nications Commission.  They  gave  as  their  reason  the  fact  that  they 
could  not  afford  that  kind  of  publicity. 

This,  too,  was  an  indication  of  what  lay  ahead.  Because  political 
screening  has  been  carried  on  behind  the  scenes,  its  opponents  are 
often  afraid  to  participate  in  any  public  opposition.  The  dangers  of 
reprisal  are  too  great. 

It  was  impossible  for  those  interested  in  supporting  blacklisting 
to  let  Rice's  charges  go  unanswered.  Counterattack  replied  al- 
most immediately.  The  newsletter  began  by  quoting  Rice's  state- 
ment that  blacklisting  "is  an  ugly  blot  upon  American  life  and  an 
ugly  threat  to  American  liberty.  .  .  .  why  I'd  be  willing  to  use  Paul 
Robeson  if  there  was  a  place  for  him  in  the  show."  In  dealing  with 
Rice's  charges,  Counterattack  made  no  effort  to  deny  that  a  system 
of  political  screening  had  been  set  up.  Instead,  the  newsletter  fol- 
lowed a  technique  it  had  developed  earlier  —  it  questioned  the 
playwright's  motives  and  tied  him  in  with  communism. 

The  Counterattack  editors  wrote: 

Now  let's  look  at  Rice's  record  and  see  how  well  qualified  he  is  to 
judge  what  should  or  should  not  be  done  about  Communists  and 
fronters.  Here  are  some  of  the  fronts  Rice  was  member  of,  or  whose 
functions  he  backed,  in  the  late  Thirties  and  early  Forties.  [11  organiza- 
tions were  cited].  In  more  recent  years,  Rice  has  backed  fronts  like  . .  . 
[four  more]  ...  a  few  years  ago  he  backed  resolution  to  exclude 
Communists  from  board  of  American  Civil  Liberties  Union.  But  now 
he  still  can't  see  anything  wrong  with  hiring  Paul  Robeson  or  any  other 
Communist  for  a  radio  or  tv  show  and  paying  such  persons  big  money 
which  they  would  use  to  support  Stalin's  cause  while  Communists 
slaughter  American  prisoners  of  war  in  Korea.  The  Communist  line 
press  has  gone  all  out  in  support  of  Rice.  He  is  a  hero,  a  martyr,  a 
defender  of  its  phony  brand  of  "freedom." 


Counterattack's  response  was  as  typical  as  that  of  the  advertising 
agency.  It  could  serve  as  a  basic  rationale  for  all  groups  and  indi- 
viduals who  supported  political  screening.  First,  the  fact  that  such 
screening  was  carried  out  was  not  denied,  although  an  argument 
was  centered  around  the  use  of  the  word  "blacklist."  Secondly,  the 
opponents  of  the  system  were  checked  for  past  political  affiliations. 
Thirdly,  there  was  a  statement  about  the  use  to  which  money  paid 
alleged  Communist  entertainers  would  be  put.  Finally,  there  was  an 
attempt  to  point  out  that  opposition  to  blacklisting  "helped  the 

Counterattack  continued  this  last  line  of  argument  in  an  issue  a 
few  weeks  later.  Speaking  of  Mady  Christian's  death,  the  news- 
letter wrote:  "Playwright  Elmer  Rice,  who  is  now  a  hero  of  CP 
because  he  would  use  known  Communists  on  radio  and  tv,  paved 
the  way  for  a  propaganda  treatment  of  her  death  hi  a  letter  to  The 
New  York  Times  'Drama  Mailbag.'  " 

In  February,  1952,  Rice  was  reconciled  with  the  Celanese 
Theater.  The  Ellington  agency  stated  it  agreed  with  him  about  op- 
posing the  blacklisting  trend,  that  it  had  not  used  lists  in  the  past, 
and  had  no  intention  of  using  them  in  the  future.  Rice  felt  he  had 
scored  a  victory  and  Counterattack  glumly  agreed  with  him. 

In  the  February  29  issue  of  the  newsletter,  there  was  an  article 
beginning  "What  Do  You  Think  of  These  Celanese  Stars?"  Two 
allegedly  pro-Communist  performers  were  listed.  Counterattack 

What  do  the  directors  of  the  Celanese  Corporation  of  America  think 
of  this  and  what  do  they  intend  to  do  about  it?  Are  they  willing  part- 
ners to  Rice's  statement  that  he  would  feature  and  thus  give  their 
stockholders'  money  to  an  identified  Communist?  This  is  a  matter  of 
personal  responsibility  that  they  cannot  evade.  They  should  take  a 
public  stand  on  it. 

In  the  long  run,  the  Rice  incident  had  no  lasting  impact.  But  it 
did  point  up  the  existence  of  blacklisting.  Whether  or  not  Rice's 


charges  were  accurate  in  every  detail,  they  provided  a  good 
picture  of  how  blacklisting  was  actually  used  in  the  casting  of 
radio  and  tv  shows.  And  the  reply  of  the  Ellington  agency  —  "but 
when  you  get  somebody  who  may  cause  a  lot  of  bad  publicity  for 
your  program  you  have  to  be  careful"  —  amounts  to  an  admission 
of  the  basic  charges  Elmer  Rice  made. 

By  1952,  blacklisting  was  generally  accepted  in  the  industry.  The 
frantic  days  of  the  Sweets  case,  the  headlines  of  the  Muir  affair,  the 
editorials  written  about  Ireene  Wicker  were  a  thing  of  the  past. 
The  industry's  solution  to  the  problem  was  firmly  institutionalized: 
don't  hire  controversial  performers  and  you  won't  have  to  fire  them. 

Worst  of  all,  the  operation  was  carried  out,  for  the  most  part, 
by  people  who  were  personally  and  privately  opposed  to  it. 

One  of  the  most  controversial  questions  in  radio-tv  has  centered 
around  the  blacklisting  of  anti-Communists.  When  Merle  Miller's 
The  Judges  and  the  Judged  appeared  in  1952,  under  the  sponsor- 
ship of  the  American  Civil  Liberties  Union,  the  report  was  attacked 
in  the  pages  of  The  New  Leader  by  Merlyn  S.  Pitzele,  then  an 
ACLU  director.  Pitzele  charged,  among  other  things,  that  Miller 
had  ignored  sources  of  information  on  the  subject  of  blacklisting  of 
anti-Communists  (in  particular,  that  he  had  not  consulted  with 
Morton  Wishengrad,  a  knowledgeable  radio  writer),  and  that  he 
had  treated  the  whole  question  hi  a  brief,  off-hand  way  which  dis- 
torted the  relationship  between  the  two  kinds  of  blacklisting. 

Miller's  conclusion  had  been  that  "there  would  seem  to  be  very 
little  doubt  that  the  Communist  Party  has  been  as  active  in  radio 
and  television  as  in  the  rest  of  the  entertainment  field.  There  can  be 
no  argument  about  the  fact  that,  in  the  past  at  least,  many  small-1 
liberals  have  cooperated  with  the  Party,  possibly  even  to  the  extent 
of  discriminating  against  the  Party's  enemies  when  it  came  to  jobs. 
It  is  certain  that  in  some  circles  it  has  been  as  costly  to  have  been 
a  premature  anti-Communist  as  it  was  in  others  to  have  been  pre- 

maturely  anti-fascist."  Further,  Miller  had  stated  that  ".  .  .  not  a 
single  instance  of  such  proof  [of  the  blacklisting  of  anti-Commu- 
nists] was  uncovered." 

A  special  committee  of  the  ACLU  Board  reported  that  Miller  had 
unintentionally  failed  to  follow  up  certain  sources  of  information, 
and  that  the  "author  should  have  been  less  dogmatic"  in  asserting 
that  there  was  no  single  instance  of  proof  of  the  blacklisting  of  anti- 
Communists.  This  report  was  later  adopted  by  the  full  Board  of 
Directors  of  the  Civil  Liberties  Union. 

In  1951,  the  Senate  Internal  Security  Subcommittee  heard  testi- 
mony on  the  infiltration  of  Communists  into  the  radio  industry.  It 
is  important  to  note  that  the  only  testimony  released  to  the  public 
fell  into  two  categories :  first,  that  of  witnesses  generally  associated 
with  the  far  right  whig  in  the  industry;  second,  that  of  "unfriendly" 
witnesses  who  invoked  the  Fifth  Amendment.  The  testimony  of 
others  who  answered  all  questions  but  were  identified  with  the 
liberal  or  "left-wing"  faction  in  the  union  was  not  made  public.  In 
addition,  one  witness  later  stated  in  a  letter  to  the  Committee  that 
he  had  been  promised  his  evidence  would  not  be  made  public  and 
had  been  "led"  in  the  course  of  questioning  to  use  certain  phrases 
which  gave  a  false  impression  of  the  meaning  he  intended  to  give. 

During  the  course  of  these  hearings,  Ruth  Adams  Knight,  a  leader 
of  the  "right- whig"  faction  in  the  Radio  Writers  Guild,  testified  on 
the  blacklisting  of  anti-Communists.  Because  of  her  long  associa- 
tion with  the  right  wing  within  the  writers  union,  and  because  hers 
is  one  of  the  few  public  statements  on  the  subject,  Miss  Knight's 
remarks  are  worth  study. 

Miss  KNIGHT:  I  think  evidence  will  be  submitted  to  you  that  there 
are  important  shows,  both  in  radio  and  television,  where  it  is  quite 
impossible  for  anyone  who  is  not  a  left-winger  to  obtain  a  hearing  and 
to  work  and  to  write  .  .  . 

SENATOR  WATKINS:  You  must  have  in  mind  something,  and  can  you 
make  a  general  reference  to  it  without  going  into  too  much  detail  .  .  . 


Miss  KNIGHT:  I  can  back  it  up  with  many  illustrations,  but  I  would 
have  to  say  what  I  am  reporting  to  you  is  a  general  impression  of  the 
industry  and  there  is  no  way  of  my  being  able  to  come  here  and  say  to 
you  that  a  certain  director  refused  to  buy  shows  from  certain  people 
who  were  right-wing  because  they  were  right-wing,  and  he  can  say 
he  didn't  buy  them  because  they  weren't  good  scripts,  and  there  is  no 
possible  proof. 

SENATOR  WATKINS:  That  is  the  thing  we  are  up  against,  you  see  ... 
But  we  must  have  something  more  than  just  a  lot  of  conclusions  .  .  . 
Miss  KNIGHT:  What  I  can  say  to  you  is  this,  that  in  the  industry,  it  is 
generally  conceded  that  there  are  certain  shows  on  which  only  extreme 
left-wing  writers  can  work. 
SENATOR  WATKINS:  Can  you  name  those  shows? 

Miss  Knight  went  on  to  name  several  shows,  and  even  one  net- 
work, which  she  alleged  had  at  one  time  or  another  discriminated 
against  anti-Communists.  In  this  part  of  her  testimony,  however, 
she  indicated  that  she  was  talking  about  the  employability  of  mem- 
bers of  "We,  the  Undersigned,"  the  right-wing  caucus  in  the 
Writers  Guild. 

Miss  Knight's  testimony  is  quoted  mainly  to  establish  the  diffi- 
culty which  any  investigator  encounters  in  trying  to  find  "concrete 
instances"  of  the  blacklisting  of  anti-Communists.  In  general,  it  is 
true  that  "there  is  no  way  of  ...  being  able  to  ...  say  ...  that  a 
certain  director  refused  to  buy  shows  from  certain  people  who  were 
right-wing  because  they  were  right-wing,  and  he  can  say  he  didn't 
buy  them  because  they  weren't  good  scripts,  and  there  is  no  possible 

This  analysis  was  recently  corroborated  by  Paul  Milton,  a  radio 
writer  and  board  member  of  AWARE,  Inc.  Milton  pointed  out  that 
there  is  no  Red  Channels  in  the  case  of  blacklisting  of  anti-Com- 
munists, i.e.,  no  fixed  point  of  reference  which  can  be  used  as  a 
dividing  line  when  considering  the  patterns  of  employment  for 
anti-Communists.  The  writer  referred  to  by  Merlyn  Pitzele,  Morton 
Wishengrad,  has  made  the  same  point. 


At  the  very  outset  then,  it  must  be  understood  that  it  is  prac- 
tically impossible  to  find  specific,  incontrovertible  evidence  of  the 
blacklisting  of  anti-Communists.  This  point  is  agreed  upon  by  both 
liberal  and  right-wing  anti-Communists.  The  non-employment  of 
an  anti-Communist  may  be  due  to  factors  other  than  his  anti- 
communism.  For  example,  one  actor  often  cited  as  the  victim  of  a 
Communist  blacklist  is  also  alleged  to  have  become  difficult  to 
work  with  precisely  because  of  his  political  activities.  Another 
performer  who  is  frequently  cited  as  a  victim  was  widely  criticized 
for  encouraging  racial  stereotypes.  There  were  protests  against  this 
performer's  appearances  by  a  number  of  anti-bias  groups.  (Some 
of  these  groups  of  course  may  have  had  communistic  ties.) 

There  is  no  way  to  ascertain  which  factors  were,  or  are,  respon- 
sible for  the  "unemployability"  of  these  two  performers.  In  the 
case  of  alleged  Communists  and  Communist  sympathizers,  how- 
ever, there  are  definite  lists,  definite  dates,  etc.  to  provide  a  point  of 
reference.  It  would  seem,  then,  that  the  charges  made  against 
Merle  Miller  were  somewhat  unjust.  The  discrimination  against 
anti-Communists  was  of  such  an  informal  nature  that  it  is  prac- 
tically impossible  to  cite  specific  instances  which  would  not  be 
challenged  by  someone. 

It  can  be  established  beyond  question,  though,  that  there  was 
never  any  network-wide  or  agency-wide  blacklisting  of  anti-Com- 
munists, even  during  the  period  when  Communists  were  presumably 
at  the  height  of  their  power.  Take,  as  an  example,  the  television 
appearances  of  Vinton  Hay  worth  in  1949-50.  Hay  worth  is  gener- 
ally accepted  as  a  leading  "anti-Communist"  in  the  special  sense  in 
which  that  word  is  used  by  Counterattack,  AWARE,  Inc.,  etc.  (The 
source  of  this  information  is  the  Ross  Reports,  a  listing  of  talent 
employed  in  television  from  1949  to  the  present.) 

On  January  21, 1950,  Hayworth  appeared  on  "Hollywood  Screen 
Test,"  an  ABC  show.  Interestingly  enough,  this  same  program 
subsequently  employed  Selena  Royle  (on  February  4,  1950)  and 


Mady  Christians  (February  11,  1950),  both  of  whom  are  listed  in 
Red  Channels.  On  March  20, 1950,  Hay  worth  appeared  on  "Lights 
Out,"  an  NBC  show,  and  on  March  27,  on  "Silver  Theatre,"  a 
CBS  show.  In  the  Ross  Reports'  listings  of  employment  from  Sep- 
tember, 1949  to  April,  1950  (Ross  Reports,  May  7,  1950),  Hay- 
worth  is  one  of  the  actors  with  the  most  frequent  listings.  In  addi- 
tion to  the  shows  reported  above,  he  appeared  in  "Lights  Out" 
(twice),  the  "Kraft  Theatre,"  the  "Philco  Theatre,"  the  "Silver 
Theatre,"  "The  Clock,"  the  "Chevrolet  Tele-Theatre,"  all  between 
the  fall  of  1949  and  the  summer  of  1950. 

When  dealing  with  this  period,  it  is  interesting  to  note  how  politi- 
cal lines  cross  and  re-cross  on  various  shows.  Thus,  Hayworth, 
Mady  Christians  and  Selena  Royle  were  used  by  the  same  producer. 
Conrad  Nagel,  a  veteran  anti-Communist,  appeared  on  "The  Silver 
Theatre,"  but  so  did  Marsha  Hunt  (who  was  named  in  Red  Chan- 
nels and  was  later  blacklisted) . 

It  has  been  said  that  the  Communists  let  certain  anti-Communists 
work  as  a  "fig-leaf"  to  hide  their  activities.  But  it  seems  unlikely 
that  this  explains  Hayworth's  pattern.  Hayworth  has  long  been  one 
of  the  most  articulate  spokesmen  for  a  right-wing  anti-Communist 
point  of  view  in  the  industry.  The  fact  that  he  was  constantly  hired 
at  a  time  when  the  Communists  were  riding  high  would  seem  to 
establish  beyond  question  that  no  industry-wide,  network-wide,  or 
agency-wide  blacklisting  of  anti-Communists  was  then  in  existence. 

To  continue  with  Hayworth.  It  may  well  be  true  that  he  has  lost 
some  employment  in  recent  years.  But  in  a  sense  this  is  a  case  of  the 
engineer's  being  hoist  on  his  own  petard.  Hayworth's  activities 
within  AWARE,  Inc.  have  now  made  him  a  "controversial  person- 
ality." More  than  one  anti-Communist  producer  has  said  that  he 
would  not  hire  him  because  of  this  fact.  They  feel  that  Hayworth's 
presence  within  a  cast  would  cause  trouble,  be  divisive,  etc. 

It  seems  possible  to  conclude,  therefore,  that  the  "blacklisting 
of  anti-Communists"  did  not  proceed  on  any  organized  and  institu- 


tional  basis.  There  was  no  Red  Channels,  no  industry-wide  deci- 
sions, no  open  agitation  for  screening,  no  silent  acceptance.  It  was 
largely  a  back-scratching  operation.  This  is  in  no  way  to  imply 
that  there  has  been  no  discrimination  against  right-wing  anti- 

In  discovering  individual  patterns  of  the  refusal  to  hire  anti- 
Communists,  or  at  least  anti-Communists  of  the  right-wing  persua- 
sion, one  is  confronted  with  an  extremely  complicated,  if  not  con- 
tradictory, situation.  In  her  testimony,  for  example,  Ruth  Adams 
Knight  charged  that  "Studio  One"  would  have  "a  possible  one  per- 
son from  a  group  like  'We  the  Undersigned'  and  almost  everyone 
else  on  the  other  side." 

A  check  of  the  writers  used  on  "Studio  One"  in  the  months  im- 
mediately before  Ruth  Adams  Knight  testified  (April  28,  1951)  is 
revealing.  There  was,  indeed,  one  writer,  Irve  Tunick,  who  was  a 
member  of  "We  the  Undersigned."  In  February,  the  show  used 
Lois  Jacoby,  a  writer  who  was  later  to  follow  Tunick  out  of  Tele- 
vision Authority  when  a  West  Coast  functionary  of  that  organization 
invoked  the  Fifth  Amendment.  The  remaining  writers  (from  Janu- 
ary 1  to  March  26)  are  not  well  known  as  supporters  of  any  left- 
wing  faction.  Indeed,  the  writer  (and  producer)  whose  work  was 
most  consistently  used  on  the  show,  Worthington  Miner,  had  a  repu- 
tation for  staying  out  of  union  disputes,  industry  politics,  etc.  On 
January  16,  1950,  "Studio  One"  used  Butterfly  McQueen,  an  ac- 
tress often  cited  as  the  victim  of  an  anti-Communist  blacklist. 

Thus,  one  of  Ruth  Adams  Knight's  specific  cases  would  seem  to 
be  questionable. 

On  the  other  hand,  there  are  shows  where  the  employment 
record  indicates  a  constant  use  of  people  associated  with  the  left 
wing.  In  1950-51,  "Danger"  used  performers  like  Lee  Grant, 
Morris  Carnovsky,  Alan  Manson,  Lou  Polan,  John  Randolph,  Elliot 
Sullivan  and  others  who  have  been  accused  of  being  antagonistic  to 
the  right  wing,  as  well  as  writer  Peter  Lyon.  Other  shows  during 


the  same  period  used  such  people  with  suspicious  frequency,  e.g., 
"Suspense,"  "Comedy  Theater."  It  is  also  true  that  the  casting  lists 
of  a  show  like  "Danger"  rarely  reveal  the  names  of  persons  who 
have  been  members  of  the  right-wing  anti-Communist  groups. 

A  study  of  casting  lists,  therefore,  bears  out  the  oft-repeated 
charge  that  anti-Communists  had  difficulties  in  certain  quarters. 
The  important  thing  distinguishing  the  left-wing  blacklisting  oper- 
ation from  the  industry-wide  steps  taken  later,  is  that  the  former 
was  sporadic,  informal  and  unorganized. 


Blacklisting:  An  Institution 

was  an  almost  inevitable  development.  A  highly  placed  executive 
at  one  of  the  largest  Madison  Avenue  agencies  —  a  man  charged 
with  screening  the  agency's  employees  —  said  not  long  ago  that  as 
soon  as  the  principle  was  established  that  performers  and  writers 
should  be  checked  for  past  political  associations,  the  doors  were 
thrown  wide  open.  Blacklisting  soon  went  far  beyond  the  names  in 
Red  Channels.  For  if  that  book  was  accepted  as  a  reliable  source, 
there  was  no  reason  why  Counterattack  itself,  the  American  Le- 
gion's Firing  Line,  the  "listing"  publications  of  Syracuse  Post  #41 
of  the  Legion,  and  every  other  list,  should  not  win  acceptance. 
This  was  made  all  the  more  complicated  by  the  structure  of  the 
radio-tv  industry.  In  Hollywood,  most  hiring  is  concentrated  in  five 
or  six  big  studios.  But  in  radio-tv,  advertising  agencies,  networks, 
program  packagers  and  sponsors  all  have  a  voice  in  deciding  who 
is  to  be  used.  The  result  is  a  multiplicity  of  lists  and  procedures, 
different  policies  on  different  networks,  the  creation  of  a  secret  and 
labyrinthine  world  of  political  screening.  Thus  it  has  often  hap- 
pened that  a  television  personality  might  be  acceptable  to  agency 
and  network,  but  not  to  this  or  that  sponsor.  Such  a  one,  in  the 
jargon  that  has  grown  up  in  the  industry,  is  "greylisted."  The  "grey- 
listed"  of  course  are  blacklisted,  but  not  completely  —  for  every 
program  on  every  network.  Few  persons  are  thoroughly  blacklisted 
in  this  sense. 


All  this  began  with  Red  Channels.  When  that  book  appeared 
in  1950,  columnist  Ed  Sullivan  wrote: 

With  television  going  into  its  third  big  year,  come  this  Fall,  the 
entire  industry  is  becoming  increasingly  aware  of  the  necessity  to  plug 
all  Commie  propaganda  loopholes.  Network  and  station  heads,  with 
a  tremendous  financial  stake,  want  no  part  of  Commies  or  pinkos. 
Sponsors,  sensitive  in  the  extreme  to  blacklisting,  want  no  part  of 
Commies  or  their  sympathizers.  Advertising  agencies,  held  responsible 
by  sponsors  for  correct  exercise  of  discretion  in  programming,  want  no 
controversy  of  any  kind.  For  that  reason,  "Red  Channels"  listing  of 
performers  who,  innocently  or  maliciously,  are  affiliated  with  Commie- 
front  organizations  will  be  a  reference  book  in  preparing  any  program. 

Sullivan  was  wrong  in  predicting  that  the  use  of  Red  Channels 
would  be  general  by  the  fall  of  1950,  but  his  over-all  analysis  was 
quite  correct,  especially  in  the  motives  he  assigned  to  the  industry, 
and  his  date  for  the  complete  triumph  of  political  screening  was 
only  a  year  off.  By  the  fall  of  1951,  almost  every  word  hi  the 
column  had  come  true. 

In  May,  1954,  Charles  E.  Martin,  a  radio-television  producer 
and  director,  appeared  before  Judge  Irving  Saypol's  court  as  a 
witness  for  the  plaintiff  in  a  suit  brought  by  actor  Joe  Julian,  a  Red 
Channels  listee,  against  the  American  Business  Consultants,  pub- 
lishers of  the  book. 

Martin  testified  under  oath  about  political  screening  in  the  indus- 
try. At  the  very  outset,  he  was  asked  by  Arthur  Garfield  Hays, 
Julian's  lawyer:  "Did  you  ever  refuse  to  give  Joe  Julian  a  job  as  an 
actor  on  any  of  your  shows  for  the  sole  reason  that  his  name  ap- 
peared in  Red  Channels?"  Martin  answered,  "I  did  refuse  to  give 
Mr.  Julian  employment  on  our  shows  because  his  name  was  in 
Red  Channels." 

Later,  Judge  Saypol  asked  Martin:  ".  .  .  do  you  know  that  he 
[Julian]  is  sympathetic  to  the  cause  of  communism?"  The  producer 
answered,  "Not  at  all,  not  that  I  know  of."  Saypol  continued:  "Well 
now,  this  Red  Channels  which  seems  to  be  the  basis  for  your  label- 


ing  him,  says  .  .  .  that  'In  screening  personnel  every  safeguard 
must  be  taken  to  protect  innocents  and  genuine  liberals  from  being 
unjustly  labeled.'  Now  is  it  your  testimony  that  on  the  basis  of  his 
inclusion  hi  the  way  in  which  it  has  been  listed  that  you  have  under- 
taken to  label  him  as  a  Red,  meaning  Communist?" 

Martin's  answer  went  to  the  heart  of  the  problem.  "Well,  I  cer- 
tainly do  not  mean  to  imply  that  I  am  accusing  Mr.  Julian  of  being 
a  Communist.  But  I  maintain  that  everybody  in  the  book  has  a 
label  attached  to  him,  and  that  we  —  our  clients  —  we  are  not  inter- 
ested in  using  the  people  who  are  hi  the  book." 

Judge  Saypol  continued  to  probe.  Why  didn't  Martin  follow  the 
warning  in  Red  Channels  that  "every  safeguard  must  be  taken  to 
protect  innocents  and  genuine  liberals  from  being  unjustly  labeled"? 
This  was  particularly  relevant  because  witnesses  had  already  estab- 
lished that  Julian  had  appeared  hi  various  anti-Communist  shows. 
Martin  attempted  to  explain  that  he  was  acting  under  orders,  but 
this  part  of  his  testimony  was  ruled  inadmissible  on  the  grounds  that 
it  involved  hearsay.  Nevertheless,  his  statements  made  it  quite 
clear  that  he  had  adopted  a  policy  of  not  using,  or  of  exercising 
care  in  using,  anyone  named  in  Red  Channels.  Later,  this  was  to 
apply  to  anyone  "listed"  in  a  variety  of  publications. 

In  his  subsequent  testimony,  Martin  reinforced  this  general  im- 
pression. He  told  the  court  that  "he  [Julian]  is  in  Red  Channels; 
he  has  a  Red  label."  Judge  Saypol  asked,  "Nothing  else  is  respon- 
sible for  that  label,  as  far  as  you  are  concerned,  except  the  fact  of 
his  inclusion  in  this  publication?"  and  Martin  told  the  judge  that 
he  was  right. 

Finally,  the  nub  of  the  difficulty  was  reached  hi  a  colloquy  be- 
tween one  of  the  American  Business  Consultants'  lawyers  and 
Martin.  "In  other  words,  then,  you  do  not  agree  with  the  statement 
hi  Red  Channels,  do  you,  that  'In  screening  personnel  great  care 
should  be  taken  that  an  injustice  be  not  done  to  innocents  and  genu- 
ine liberals'?"  Martin  answered,  "I  certainly  do  agree  with  the  state- 


ment  in  the  book,  but  how  can  we  apply  this,  this  theory?  It's  im- 
practicable. Because,  I  am  not  a  court  of  law.  We  therefore  take 
the  policy  of  quarantining  a  ship;  it's  preventive  medicine.  We 
quarantine  everybody  in  the  book.  We  cannot  take  any  chances." 

Martin  then  extended  his  answer  to  "radio  actors  and  actresses 
and  television  actors  and  actresses  who  have  been  and  who  are 
known  to  have  been  associated  with  Communist  fronts."  Here,  the 
policy  of  quarantine  was  extended  beyond  the  bounds  of  Red 
Channels  and  applied  to  anyone  who  had  been  cited  as  having  a  list 
of  associations  with  alleged  Communist  fronts. 

Martin  was  accurately  describing  the  policy  of  the  entire  industry. 

This  same  point  of  view  was  stated  by  another  industry  spokes- 
man, an  attorney  for  one  of  the  large  packagers,  in  a  letter  written 
to  a  talent  union  official.  First  the  lawyer  differentiated  between 
the  meanings  of  the  word  "blacklist,"  maintaining  that  the  term 
properly  applied  to  a  conspiracy  in  restraint  of  employment  and 
that  his  client's  practice  simply  amounted  to  an  exercise  of  volition 
in  hiring.  But  in  the  next  paragraph  he  admitted  that  his  client, 
because  of  the  pressure  of  sponsors  and  advertising  agencies,  would 
not  hire  any  "controversial"  person.  Then  he  made  an  unusually 
frank  statement  about  the  criteria  employed  by  the  industry. 

He  began  by  stating  that  ideology  was  not  involved  in  hiring  or 
firing.  Guilt  or  innocence  of  the  charges  against  an  actor  was  simply 
not  relevant.  The  only  question  was  whether  or  not  the  person 
would  be  acceptable  to  the  community.  The  determination  of  guilt 
or  innocence,  he  maintained,  would  require  a  long  trial  in  a  court 
of  law.  The  program  packager  could  only  concern  himself  with 
trying  to  anticipate  public  reaction.  Therefore,  the  packager  was 
not  interested  in  discovering  whether  or  not  a  man  was  actually  a 
member  of  the  organizations  listed  after  his  name,  or  whether  par- 
ticipation in  those  organizations  indicated  he  was  a  Communist  or 
sympathetic  to  communism.  It  was  enough  that  the  charges  had 
been  made. 


This  candid  statement  of  policy  cannot  be  attributed  to  the  whole 
industry.  Many  of  the  sponsors  involved  were  concerned  with  es- 
tablishing innocence  or  guilt.  Their  refusal  to  use  a  performer  was 
sincerely  based  on  repugnance  to  communism  or  Communists.  But 
whatever  the  theoretical  explanation,  the  lawyer's  letter  accurately 
described  the  operating  practice  of  the  industry.  The  employment 
criteria  which  developed  out  of  Red  Channels  and  similar  listings 
were  based  on  anticipating  public  reaction.  And  this  is  what  hung 
heavy  on  the  consciences  of  people  in  the  industry.  Opposed  as 
they  were  to  blacklisting,  they  were  now  required  to  use  it  against 
individuals  they  knew  to  be  innocent  of  Communist  sympathies. 

The  disclaimer  in  Red  Channels  calling  for  "safeguards"  was 
fairly  meaningless.  When  political  screening  becomes  secret,  ex- 
cesses are  built  into  the  system;  they  are  not  merely  the  result  of 
a  faulty  exercise  of  judgment  on  the  part  of  those  engaged  in 

If  screening  (or  blacklisting)  had  been  confined  to  the  names  in 
Red  Channels,  it  would  have  created  a  problem  of  considerable 
though  manageable  proportions.  But  the  accusations  kept  coming 
and  the  lists  lengthened  as  time  went  on.  New  charges  were  made 
during  1950,  '51  and  '52.  Dozens  of  performers  not  mentioned  in 
Red  Channels  found  that  they  were  "in  trouble."  By  1952  most  of 
the  groups  favoring  blacklisting  found  that  they  had  named  just 
about  everyone  vulnerable  to  attack.  Still  the  attacks  never  let  up. 
As  late  as  the  spring  of  1955  the  J.  Walter  Thompson  advertising 
agency  was  harassed  because  of  certain  performers  it  had  used  on 
its  dramatic  shows  during  the  winter  tv  season. 

The  groups  who  make  these  continuing  charges  are  almost  always 
aligned  with  the  extreme  right  wing  of  American  politics.  Their 
techniques  are  essentially  the  same  as  those  employed  in  Red  Chan- 
nels—people are  "listed,"  with  the  organizations  they  allegedly 
joined,  and  some  "citation"  is  given  to  show  that  these  organizations 


are,  or  at  least  were,  tied  in  with  communism.  The  "citations"  are 
often  the  findings  of  a  legislative  committee.  But  sometimes  the 
authority  cited  is  the  same  as  that  making  the  accusation  —  thus 
Red  Channels  cited  Counterattack  and  Counterattack  cites  Red 
Channels.  Again,  American  Legion  "lists"  cite  Counterattack  as 
an  authority;  Counterattack's  Red  Channels  returns  the  compliment 
by  citing  Legion  publications. 

A  fairly  typical  example  of  the  accusations  these  groups  make 
can  be  found  hi  a  letter  of  the  Veterans  Action  Committee  of  Syra- 
cuse Super  Markets.  This  group  works  closely  with  Syracuse  Post 
#41  of  the  American  Legion  and  with  Laurence  A.  Johnson,  a 
Syracuse  supermarket  owner  who  has  been  extremely  active  in  pro- 
moting political  screening  in  the  industry.  The  threat  made  in  the 
letter  actually  received  its  force  from  Johnson's  control  of  several 
supermarkets  in  Syracuse.  The  letter  was  addressed  to  Leonard  A. 
Block  of  the  Block  Drug  Company,  makers  of  Amm-i-dent. 


Is  the  [actor's  name]  who  appeared  on  your  "Danger"  program 
last  night  the  Communist  Fronter  [actor's  name]  who  appeared  on  the 
Civil  Rights  Congress  Show?  See  the  attached  photostat  of  the  Com- 
munist Paper,  Daily  Worker  .  .  .  For  your  information  Civil  Rights 
Congress  was  cited  as  subversive  and  Communist  by  Attorney  General 
Tom  Clark,  letters  to  Loyalty  Review  Board,  released  December  4, 
1947,  and  September  21,  1948,  according  to  Guide  to  Subversive 
Organizations  and  Publications,  82nd  Congress,  May  14,  1951. 

Is  the  [actress'  name]  who  also  appeared  on  the  same  show  the 
same  [actress'  name]  who  was  mentioned  in  ...  Counterattack?  We 
quote  from  Counterattack: 

"Communists  Have  Created  A  'Living  Memorial'  For  J.  Edward 
Bromberg.  About  1500  people  were  jammed  in  a  hall  in  the  Hotel 
Diplomat  (N.Y.  City)  on  night  of  Dec.  23.  A  thousand  people 
were  turned  away  for  lack  of  space  .  .  .  Other  speakers  at  this 
obviously  Communist-inspired  tribute  to  J.  Edward  Bromberg  were: 
[Actress'  name]  who  is  starred  in  current  Paramount  film  [film's 
name]  .  .  .  Miss  [actress'  name]  has  front  record  and  last  year  was 


featured  in  the  Broadway  flop  .  .  .  This  was  a  Communist  propa- 
ganda play  written  by  [writer's  name],  an  identified  CP  member. 
In  spite  of  efforts  of  CP  and  its  supporters  to  make  a  hit  of  this 
play,  it  failed  miserably." 

If  you  plan  to  continue  the  use  of  Communist  Front  talent  wouldn't 
it  be  a  good  idea  if  you  were  to  send  a  representative  from  the  Block 
Drug  Company  or  Cecil  &  Presberey,  Advertising  Agency,  since  both 
companies  are  aware  the  Communist  Fronters  are  allowed  in  Amm-i- 
dent  advertising.  Perhaps  we  could  work  out  a  questionnaire  to  be 
given  to  the  people  who  buy  from  our  cosmetic  displays.  A  ques- 
tionnaire could  be  drafted  reading,  for  instance,  as  follows: 

Do  You  Want  Any  Part  of  Your  Purchase  Price  of  Amm-i-dent  to 
be  Used  to  Hire  Communist  Fronters? 

YES  Q  No  Q 

Indicate  your  choice  by  X  in  the  appropriate  box. 
We  are  sending  this  letter  to  you  by  registered  mail  because  our 
earlier  correspondence  to  you  on  May  28th  evidently  went  astray  since 
no  answer  has  been  forthcoming. 

Very  truly  yours, 



Pressure  similar  to  this  came  from  a  number  of  sources  and  had 
the  effect  of  extending  blacklisting.  In  1951,  the  National  Ameri- 
canism Commission  Sub-Committee  on  Subversive  Activities  of  the 
American  Legion  published  a  Summary  of  Trends  and  Develop- 
ments Exposing  the  Communist  Conspiracy.  The  conclusion  of  the 
document  clearly  referred  to  the  situation  in  radio  and  television: 

Communism  cannot  be  defeated  by  a  lot  of  words  and  "pussy- 
footing." It  must  be  hit  hard  and  often  wherever  and  whenever  it 
exists.  Feelings  cannot  be  spared.  If,  in  the  course  of  battle,  anyone  is 
unjustly  hurt  by  unknowingly  lending  their  name  and  financial  aid  to 
an  organization  or  cause  that  is  subversive,  it  is  very  simple  to  with- 
draw that  support  and  to  repudiate  the  organization. 

As  blacklisting  developed,  however,  this  "repudiation"  was  to 
become  quite  complicated. 


In  an  industry  as  sensitive  to  public  opinion  as  radio-tv,  it  was 
inevitable  that  charges  of  disloyalty  would  be  effective,  especially 
when  they  were  coupled  with  the  threat  of  boycott.  In  the  Novem- 
ber, 1952,  issue  of  Facts  About  Blacklist,  a  newsletter  published 
by  a  group  of  blacklisted  writers,  a  letter  from  an  Assistant  Vice- 
President  of  the  Borden  milk  company  was  quoted  in  full.  It  was 
written  to  Laurence  A.  Johnson,  the  Syracuse  supermarket  owner: 


I  want  to  tell  you  again  how  grateful  I  am  for  the  time  and  help  you 
gave  me  on  Tuesday.  It  is  no  exaggeration  to  say  that  my  eyes  have 
been  opened  as  a  result  of  your  cooperation.  The  same  goes  for  Francis 
Neuser  and  his  group  [Veterans  Action  Committee].  He  mentioned 
the  fact  that  they  are  unpopular,  but  I  know  he  isn't  right.  No  one 
could  meet  them  without  being  impressed  by  the  honesty  and  zeal  with 
which  they  are  pursuing  this  fine  course,  and  with  their  obvious  deter- 
mination to  be  fair. 

Sincerely  yours, 

Asst.  Vice  Pres. 

Within  a  relatively  short  time,  Johnson,  and  others  engaged  in 
the  same  cause,  had  a  number  of  such  letters  to  testify  to  their  suc- 
cess. Johnson  was  particularly  effective.  He  used  the  technique  of 
wiring  or  phoning  executives  and  members  of  the  board  of  directors 
of  companies  which  sponsored  programs  on  which  "controversial" 
talent  had  been  used.  (In  many  cases  of  course  these  people  were 
"controversial"  because  Johnson  and  his  friends,  with  their  accusa- 
tions, made  them  so.)  As  a  result,  the  pressure  came  from  the  top 
down  and  hit  the  agencies  and  packagers  with  considerable  force. 
Only  a  few  companies  were  willing  to  risk  a  questionnaire  like  the 
one  suggested  by  the  Veterans  Action  Committee  of  Syracuse  Super 

Although  many  sponsors  are  sincerely  motivated  by  opposition 
to  communism,  the  day-to-day  working  principle  of  political  screen- 
ing is  based  on  anticipating  public  reaction.  The  controlling  ques- 


tion  in  "clearance,"  then,  as  far  as  the  industry  is  concerned,  is  not 
the  establishing  of  innocence  so  much  as  the  furnishing  of  proof 
that  the  person  involved  has  made  his  peace  with  the  pressure 
groups  which  threaten  to  stir  up  protests. 

The  case  of  one  radio-tv  writer  shows  the  effects  the  system  has 
had.  When  Red  Channels  appeared  in  1950,  his  name  was  among 
those  listed.  Almost  immediately  he  was  informed  by  an  agency 
which  had  been  buying  his  scripts  that  it  was  changing  its  policy, 
would  use  only  a  limited  number  of  writers  in  the  future  and  no 
longer  needed  his  services.  He  continued  to  get  some  assignments 
in  radio  and  television  after  this,  but  more  and  more  he  found  it 
necessary  to  go  outside  the  industry  for  work. 

When  the  McCarran  Committee  report  came  out,  his  name  ap- 
peared again  and  he  was  dropped  from  the  one  show  he  was  writing 
for  at  that  time.  After  this  he  did  some  work  for  radio  —  but  he 
could  no  longer  use  his  own  name.  All  regular  commercial  assign- 
ments stopped  and  he  was  confined  to  staff  work  and  anonymous 
writing.  However,  even  his  income  from  the  anonymous  shows  was 
affected  by  publication  of  the  McCarran  report.  By  1954,  his 
earnings  from  the  ghost  writing  amounted  to  $2,000,  a  tremendous 
drop  from  his  pie-Red  Channels  income. 

This  writer's  case  is  typical  of  the  experience  of  those  who  did 
not  attempt  to  "clear"  themselves.  They  were  dismissed  from  cer- 
tain shows  almost  immediately  after  Red  Channels  appeared.  But 
some  work  was  available  throughout  1950  and  even  into  '51.  By 
that  time,  however,  the  screening  machinery  had  begun  to  work 
efficiently  and  the  only  employment  open  to  them  was  writing  under 
a  pen  name  or  without  credit.  By  1954  even  this  was  dangerous. 
There  were  people  inside  the  industry  who  favored  political  screen- 
ing and  watched  the  comings  and  goings  of  blacklisted  writers.  It 
became  difficult  to  keep  "listed"  persons  on  the  payroll,  even  though 
their  work  was  never  credited  on  the  air. 

An  actor's  story  follows  similar  lines.   Before  Red  Channels,  he 


had  been  blasted  in  Counterattack.  His  employers  had  showed  some 
concern  but  had  not  barred  him  from  working.  Even  after  Red 
Channels,  the  actor  managed  to  stay  employed  for  over  a  year.  Then 
he  could  find  no  work.  No  one  claimed  it  was  because  of  his  Red 
Channels  listing,  though  the  actor  was  well  aware  that  was  it.  The 
policy  of  firing  someone  on  grounds  other  than  the  political  accusa- 
tions made  against  him  became  routine  once  blacklisting  was  ac- 
cepted as  a  regular  operation.  The  industry  is  always  concerned 
over  the  possibility  of  law  suits  based  on  the  charge  of  conspiracy; 
therefore  the  "listings"  in  Red  Channels,  Counterattack  or  the  news- 
letters of  the  American  Legion  are  never  given  as  a  reason  for  the 
firing.  And  in  conversations,  industry  representatives  are  ever  care- 
ful to  indicate  that  they  do  not  confer  with  each  other  about  their 
policy  with  regard  to  specific  people.  The  fact  remains  however 
that  the  "other  reasons"  for  not  hiring  always  develop  immediately 
after  a  political  attack;  if  the  person  attacked  succeeds  in  "clear- 
ing" himself  with  the  right  people,  the  "other  reasons"  usually 

Blacklisting  has  always  been  uneven.  The  industry  is  united  on 
following  a  screening  policy  but  standards  vary.  This  is  evident 
in  the  fact  that  the  actor  just  mentioned  worked  on  shows  which 
went  out  over  the  very  network  that  let  him  go.  But  in  his  case  the 
situation  did  not  persist  for  long.  In  1952  he  was  considered  for 
a  part  but  before  the  show  went  on  the  air  was  told  he  would  not  be 
needed.  After  that  he  found  work  on  another  network.  Then 
Counterattack  hit  him  again  and  he  was  out  of  work  once  more. 
After  1953  he  could  find  no  work  and  has  been  excluded  from  the 
industry  ever  since. 

The  actor's  experience  suggests  another  aspect  of  blacklisting. 
Different  networks  have  different  policies.  So  have  sponsors  and 
agencies.  As  a  result,  an  actor  might  be  persona  non  grata  in  one 
place  and  welcome  in  another. 


The  unevenness  has  led  to  mistakes.  In  1950,  in  one  of  the 
earliest,  pre-Red  Channels  cases,  Ed  Sullivan  had  the  dancer  Paul 
Draper  on  his  show.  Draper  was  already  a  controversial  figure 
as  a  result  of  the  highly  publicized  law  suit  which  he  and  Larry 
Adler  brought  against  Mrs.  McCullough.  The  day  after  Draper 
appeared  in  Sullivan's  show,  the  New  York  Journal- American  ran  a 
banner  head:  "Paul  Draper  in  TV  Show  Draws  Floods  of  Protests." 
The  next  day,  the  newspaper  reported  that  the  New  York  State 
Commanders  of  the  Catholic  War  Veterans,  the  Veterans  of  Foreign 
Wars,  the  New  York  State  Adjutant  of  the  American  Legion,  and 
the  Queens  County  Commander  of  the  Catholic  War  Veterans  had 
protested.  Shortly  afterwards,  Sullivan  made  a  public  apology. 

A  fairly  prominent  movie  and  stage  actor  was  listed  in  Red  Chan- 
nels. At  the  time,  he  was  out  of  the  country  and  did  not  learn  the 
fact  until  he  returned.  He  was  charged  among  other  things  with 
having  been  a  member  of  the  Abraham  Lincoln  Brigade,  the  Com- 
munist military  organization  which  fought  for  the  Loyalists  in  the 
Spanish  Civil  War.  The  source  for  the  charge  was  a  listing  in 
"Appendix  IX."  Later,  this  actor  was  to  prove  that  "Appendix  IX" 
was  wrong.  He  accounted  for  all  his  movements  throughout  the 
entire  period  of  the  Spanish  Civil  War  and  proved  conclusively  that 
he  could  not  have  served  with  the  Brigade. 

It  took  four  years  before  he  could  establish  this  fact  to  the 
satisfaction  of  the  radio  and  television  industry.  After  the  listing 
in  1950,  he  was  able  to  work  on  television.  But  by  1951,  his  work 
on  television  was  cut  off.  At  this  time  he  received  many  calls  asking 
if  he  were  available,  but  inevitably  someone  would  phone  back  to 
tell  him  it  had  been  decided  he  was  not  "right"  for  the  part.  After 
a  while,  he  realized  he  had  been  blacklisted.  At  the  urging  of  his 
friends,  he  decided  to  try  to  "clear"  himself.  In  the  long  process  of 
his  "clearance,"  he  met  with  some  of  the  important  figures  in  the 


In  1952,  while  the  actor  was  trying  to  "clear"  himself,  the  Ameri- 
can Legion  announced  it  was  going  to  picket  a  play  in  which  he  was 
appearing.  He  protested,  citing  his  proof  that  he  had  never  been 
a  member  of  the  Abraham  Lincoln  Brigade.  But  this  had  no  im- 
mediate effect.  Some  time  after  this,  the  actor  received  a  letter  of 
introduction  to  a  leading  Legion  official.  Influential  people  also 
wrote  to  the  Legion  indicating  their  belief  that  the  actor  was  not  a 
Communist  and  never  had  been.  Eventually,  he  succeeded  in  con- 
vincing the  Legion  he  was  innocent  of  the  charges  made  against 

In  late  1952,  the  actor  was  put  in  touch  with  George  Sokolsky. 
The  actor  is  convinced  that  Sokolsky's  role  in  this  case,  and  in 
others,  was  based  on  honest  concern.  The  columnist  was  con- 
vinced the  charges  would  not  stand  up.  As  a  result  of  their  con- 
versation, Sokolsky  wrote  a  letter  stating  he  felt  the  evidence  against 
the  actor  was  weak.  In  this  letter,  the  columnist  repeated  that  he, 
Sokolsky,  could  not  "clear"  anyone,  people  had  to  clear  themselves. 

The  actor  also  met  with  Jack  Wren,  "security  officer"  at  the 
Batten,  Barton,  Durstine  and  Osborn  advertising  agency.  It  was 
Wren  who  advised  an  affidavit  accounting  for  all  his  movements 
during  the  period  of  the  Spanish  Civil  War.  This  step  was  neces- 
sary, for  the  actor  had  to  be  "defensible"  should  protests  come  in 
as  a  result  of  the  original  Red  Channels  listing.  Once  convinced 
the  actor  had  been  wronged,  Wren  helped  him  get  back  to  work, 
writing  letters  for  him,  interceding  in  his  behalf,  and  in  general 
attempting  to  establish  his  "employ ability."  But  Wren  felt  it  was 
necessary  to  lay  a  careful  groundwork  of  refutation  before  the  actor 
could  actually  be  used  on  any  program. 

In  1953,  the  actor  got  in  touch  with  the  House  Committee  on 
Un-American  Activities  in  order  to  clear  up  the  original  inaccurate 
listing  in  "Appendix  IX."  His  letter  was  acknowledged  by  Repre- 
sentative Harold  Velde,  then  chairman  of  the  Committee,  with  a 
note  assuring  him  the  statement  would  be  filed  in  the  records  of 


the  Committee.  But  he  did  not  succeed  in  getting  any  definite  state- 
ment from  Velde  or  the  Committee  pointing  out  that  the  listing  had 
been  in  error.  Throughout  the  "clearance"  procedure,  this  fact  was 
to  remain  a  block  to  his  being  reemployed. 

By  the  end  of  1953,  the  actor  found  he  was  still  "unemployable," 
even  though  various  highly  placed  people  in  radio,  television  and 
Hollywood  had  absolved  him  of  any  sympathy  for  the  Communist 
Party.  At  this  time,  he  was  able  to  convince  Roy  Brewer,  the  Holly- 
wood labor  leader  and  key  figure  hi  the  Motion  Picture  Alliance  for 
the  Preservation  of  American  Ideals,  of  the  soundness  of  his  case. 
Brewer  wrote  a  letter  indicating  he  was  satisfied  the  performer  was 
not  pro-Communist.  The  actor  used  the  letter  in  an  attempt  to  get 
movie  work  but  was  told  that  the  part  he  sought  had  already  been 
filled.  (The  reason  given  was  probably  true;  a  letter  from  Brewer 
at  that  time  was  enough  to  clear  performers  in  Hollywood.) 

Finally,  early  in  1954,  the  actor  was  assigned  to  a  television 
show.  Almost  immediately,  he  was  under  attack  from  Syracuse. 
The  actor  wrote  a  letter  to  the  head  of  the  Legion  group  in  Syracuse, 
telling  him  of  the  inaccuracy  of  the  "Appendix  IX"  citation  and 
mentioning  a  highly  placed  Legionnaire  who  was  convinced  he  was 
innocent  of  pro-Communist  sympathies.  The  letter  went  un- 
answered. But  when  the  actor  began  to  appear  regularly  on  various 
television  shows  there  were  no  further  protests. 

By  1955,  the  actor  had  almost  regained  the  professional  status 
he  held  prior  to  Red  Channels.  The  charges  against  him  had  been 
rebutted.  Powerful  "anti-Communists"  had  written  letters  for  him. 
He  had  proved  he  was  "defensible."  As  a  result,  he  resumed  normal 
employment.  Now  that  it  is  all  over,  he  is  grateful  to  Sokolsky, 
Wren  and  Brewer  for  the  help  they  gave  him. 

The  actor's  experience  illustrates  the  "clearance"  mechanism 
which  developed  after  blacklisting  became  institutionalized.  To  be- 
gin with,  it  shows  that  the  rhetorical  claim  that  a  performer  must 
"clear  himself"  is  something  less  than  a  description  of  the  reality. 


Although  he  must  "clear  himself,"  it  is  also  necessary  for  him  to 
convince  various  key  people  that  his  "clearance"  is  legitimate.  By 
and  large,  the  persons  this  actor  encountered  are  the  ones  who  deal 
with  clearances:  George  Sokolsky,  Jack  Wren  of  BBD&O,  the  top 
security  officers  at  CBS,  various  American  Legion  figures.  If  this 
group  is  convinced  of  a  man's  sincerity  or,  in  the  case  of  the  execu- 
tives, "defensibility,"  he  can  work. 

But  the  process  can  be  quite  lengthy  —  four  years  in  the  case  of 
this  particular  actor.  The  actor  believes  that  had  he  been  a  more 
important  star,  his  "clearance"  would  not  have  taken  so  long.  A 
public-relations  staff  might  have  been  engaged  to  make  him  "de- 
fensible." As  it  was,  the  procedure  was  a  long  and  arduous  one  and 
his  career  was  gravely  affected. 

It  is  equally  important  to  realize  that,  from  this  actor's  point  of 
view,  the  various  "clearance"  men,  like  Sokolsky  and  Wren,  were 
actually  trying  to  help  him.  He  was  not  asked  for  money.  Once 
these  men  were  convinced  he  had  been  unjustly  "listed,"  they  went 
to  some  trouble  to  put  him  back  to  work.  For  many,  though,  the 
politics  of  those  with  whom  a  blacklistee  must  deal  remain  a 
stumbling  block.  The  informal  "clearance"  board  is  largely  right- 
wing  in  its  political  orientation.  If  a  performer  has  a  strong  preju- 
dice against  associating  with  Hearst  columnists  or  American  Legion 
officials,  or  rejects  their  definition  of  "effective  anti-communism," 
he  will  find  it  difficult  if  not  impossible  to  "clear  himself." 

In  1951,  the  program  directors  at  CBS  became  aware  of  the 
problem.  Actors  they  had  previously  used  with  great  success  would 
be  turned  down  even  when  they  were  obviously  suitable  for  the 
part.  Soon  an  internal  communications  system  was  developed  to 
head  off  embarrassing  incidents.  Before  this,  actors  would  some- 
times be  called,  or  even  sign  a  contract,  then  it  would  be  found  they 
could  not  be  used  because  of  some  "listing"  or  past  political 
association.  By  1952,  the  CBS  procedure  was  regularized. 


Producers  submitted  the  names  of  writers  they  wanted  to  use. 
These  were  then  submitted  to  the  story  department.  Copies  of 
the  memo  also  went  to  the  executives  charged  at  that  time  with 
carrying  out  the  network's  screening  policy  —  William  Dozier  (who 
is  generally  credited  with  having  initiated  this  procedure),  Vice- 
President  Daniel  O'Shea,  or  his  assistant  Alfred  Berry.  The  final 
word  came  from  O'Shea  or  Berry.  Written  rejections  of  proposed 
writers  were  never  made.  The  producers  would  receive  a  phone 
call  and  be  told,  "Sorry,  we  can't  clear."  When  a  producer  asked 
why  a  certain  person  had  been  rejected,  he  was  told  that  it  was 
none  of  his  business. 

In  one  case,  a  director  was  signed  for  a  show  and  actually  used. 
Subsequently,  there  were  protests  from  Laurence  Johnson  in  Syra- 
cuse. Johnson  had  been  told  by  Harvey  Matusow  that  the  director 
was  a  Communist.  Matusow  claimed  he  had  seen  him  at  Party 
meetings.  Meetings  were  arranged  between  the  sponsor,  some 
prominent  "anti-Communists,"  including  Sokolsky  and  Victor 
Riesel  of  the  Hearst  papers,  Matusow  and  the  director  in  question. 
As  soon  as  he  met  the  director  face  to  face,  Matusow  admitted  he 
had  named  the  wrong  man.  Nevertheless,  it  was  impossible  to 
obtain  a  clear-cut  retraction  from  those  who  published  the  charge. 

A  show  became  "tough"  after  a  number  of  "mistakes"  were  made 
and  protests  mounted.  Political  screening  was  more  careful  then, 
and  even  those  who  could  work  on  other  shows  for  the  same  net- 
work could  not  be  used.  "Danger"  fell  into  this  category,  so  did 
"Justice."  In  the  case  of  "Danger,"  a  threat  from  the  Veterans 
Action  Committee  of  Syracuse  had  been  enough  to  convince  every- 
one that  special  precautions  were  necessary. 

However,  even  when  blacklisting  is  functioning  well,  a  few  peo- 
ple still  manage  to  work  under  assumed  names.  This  is  generally 
only  possible  for  writers,  or  for  actors  working  on  radio,  since  a 
television  appearance  can  easily  be  noted  by  someone  in  the  audi- 
ence. Still,  one  blacklisted  actress  managed  to  work  on  television 


as  the  hands  in  a  soap  commercial  until  she  was  recognized  enter- 
ing the  studio.  But  her  case  was  an  exception.  Most  blackmarket 
work  is  done  by  writers. 

In  the  early  days  of  blacklisting,  it  was  possible  for  a  writer  to 
submit  scripts  under  an  assumed  name.  After  a  while,  the  system 
was  tightened  up.  It  is  now  necessary  for  a  writer  to  have  a 
"front"  in  order  to  continue  working.  The  "front"  must  be  a  person 
who  can  convincingly  carry  off  the  role  of  a  writer.  He  attends  all 
conferences  on  the  script  which  he  is  supposed  to  have  written. 
He  has  to  be  coached  on  how  to  react  to  suggestions,  how  to  take 
notes  on  the  changes  which  the  producer  or  director  requests,  etc. 
If  the  "front"  has  some  acting  experience,  so  much  the  better. 

Once  the  "front"  is  successful,  a  whole  series  of  problems  arises. 
He  receives  public  credit  for  shows  written  by  another  man.  His 
family  and  friends  assume  he  is  making  a  great  deal  of  money.  His 
employer  may  question  him  about  working  on  company  time.  When 
the  next  deal  comes  up,  the  "front"  often  demands  that  his  cut  of 
the  check  be  raised  to  a  point  commensurate  with  his  status  as  a 
big-name  television  writer.  Ego  problems  develop.  The  "front" 
begins  to  act  like  a  first-rate  writing  talent  and  resents  the  actual 

In  one  case  —  now  an  industry  legend  —  a  "front"  became  so 
successful  he  was  hired  as  a  script  editor  for  some  television  shows. 
Once  in  this  position,  he  refused  to  use  the  work  of  the  blacklisted 
writers  who  had  made  his  reputation,  on  the  grounds  that  it  would 
endanger  his  position. 

Another  "front"  received  an  offer  to  go  to  Hollywood  to  write 
movies.  A  third  became  infuriated  when  his  father  called  him  and 
said:  "I  saw  your  show  last  night.  I'm  glad  to  see  that  you're  finally 
becoming  a  writer  after  all  these  years  of  trying."  As  a  result  of  the 
emotional  crisis  engendered  by  this  phone  call,  the  "front"  broke 
off  relations  with  the  blacklisted  writer. 


Throughout  the  radio-tv  industry,  the  fact  that  someone  is  "in 
trouble"  (the  industry's  euphemism  for  being  blacklisted)  has  often 
meant  that  high-priced  talent  could  be  bought  at  cut-rate  prices. 
The  larger  talent  agencies  refuse  to  handle  blacklisted  writers  who 
work  through  "fronts,"  but  the  smaller  companies  saw  an  oppor- 
tunity to  make  a  killing  and  have  gone  along.  When  this  happens, 
a  part  of  the  check  for  the  show  goes  to  the  agency  and  if  the 
packager  is  aware  of  the  arrangement,  he  too  may  demand  a 

In  one  case,  a  "front"  got  so  interested  in  improving  his  position 
he  accepted  almost  any  terms  from  producers.  Instead  of  demand- 
ing reasonable  working  conditions  (for  example  with  regard  to 
deadlines)  he  began  to  agree  to  all  offers.  The  pressure  on  the 
blacklisted  writer  he  was  "fronting"  for  became  so  great  that  the 
writer  eventually  had  to  break  off  the  relationship.  In  still  another 
case,  a  producer  offered  to  get  a  better  "front"  for  a  writer.  The 
man  he  suggested  had  been  in  the  business  long  enough  to  build  up 
a  personal  reputation  and  his  scripts  were  worth  more.  And  finally, 
there  was  a  case  in  which  the  "front"  himself  became  blacklisted 
after  he  had  achieved  a  certain  ersatz  prominence. 

Because  of  all  the  problems  involved  in  blackmarketing,  "fronts" 
do  not  last  long.  Perhaps  the  greatest  single  difficulty  hi  the  rela- 
tionship is  the  ego  problem.  "Fronts"  are  often  frustrated  and 
unsuccessful  writers  themselves  and  the  experience  of  receiving 
credit  for  brilliantly  written  shows  creates  problems  for  them.  In 
a  few  cases,  men  have  "fronted"  on  principle,  as  a  means  of  oppos- 
ing blacklisting.  But  these  instances  are  relatively  rare. 

All  these  factors  combine  to  make  the  blackmarket  business  an 
insignificant  part  of  radio  and  television  production.  It  is  a  method 
open  only  to  the  best  of  the  blacklisted  talent  and  is  hazardous  even 
for  them. 

In  one  case,  a  blacklisted  director  was  able  to  work.  He  would 
go  to  the  studio  early  in  the  morning  with  the  regular  director,  check 


all  the  camera  angles,  suggest  changes  in  the  script  and  the  way  in 
which  an  actor  should  handle  his  lines.  The  whole  operation  was 
finished  by  eight  o'clock.  It  finally  broke  down  when  someone  in- 
side the  industry  became  suspicious  of  the  director  who  received 
credit  and  accused  him  of  working  with  a  blacklisted  person.  After 
this,  collaboration  between  a  blacklisted  director  and  a  regular 
director  became  more  or  less  impossible. 

At  times,  radio-tv  "security"  standards  seem  to  be  relaxed  some- 
what. People  who  have  been  "unemployable"  find  work  without 
going  through  the  formality  of  a  "clearance."  But  then,  some  pres- 
sure group  starts  a  protest  and  the  hiring  offices  resume  their  cau- 
tion. Often,  a  step-by-step  procedure  is  worked  out  to  bring  an 
actor  back  to  "full  employ  ability."  First  there  is  an  appearance  on 
a  show  sponsored  by  an  institutional  advertiser  which  does  not  re- 
quire criteria  as  strict  as  those  used  by  consumer-goods  sponsors. 
If  this  appearance  goes  unnoticed,  the  actor  may  then  attempt  to 
find  a  spot  on  a  more  difficult  show,  citing  his  experience  with  the 
institutional  advertiser  to  prove  he  is  no  longer  "in  trouble."  If 
all  goes  well  there,  the  word  gets  around  that  he  can  be  generally 

In  the  winter  of  1955,  there  were  persistent  rumors  that  things 
were  letting  up.  Several  actors  and  actresses  who  had  not  been  used 
for  some  time  suddenly  found  work.  But  any  anticipation  that 
blacklisting  was  coming  to  an  end  were  premature.  In  April,  1955, 
the  Veterans  Action  Committee  of  Syracuse  Super  Markets  started 
to  campaign  against  the  Kraft  Foods  Company.  The  campaign 
began  with  a  letter  addressed  "To  All  Food  Retailers,  Wholesalers 
and  Patriotic  Organizations,"  charging  that  the  Kraft  television  show 
had  used  two  Communist  fronters,  and  that  this  was  part  of  a  con- 
tinuing policy  of  the  company. 

The  Syracuse  attack  included  the  same  kind  of  threat  that  had 
been  addressed  to  the  Block  Drug  Company: 


We  invite  you  to  follow  the  suggestion  of  John  K.  Dungey  and 
join  the  American  Legion  in  making  such  a  test  and  take  a  poll  of  the 
customers  as  they  buy  Kraft  products.  For  instance,  a  questionnaire 
could  be  drafted  reading,  "Do  you  want  any  part  of  your  money  spent 
for  Kraft  products,  to  help  subsidize  anyone  who  had  directly  or  in- 
directly contributed  in  any  way  toward  helping  the  Communist  Con- 
spiracy in  the  United  States?  Indicate  in  the  appropriate  box  YES  or 

As  long  as  such  pressure  continues,  there  will  probably  be  no 
letup  in  blacklisting.  The  industry  set  its  fundamental  policy  after 
the  Muir,  Wicker  and  Loeb  cases.  It  has,  in  effect,  agreed  to  accept 
a  basic  limitation  upon  its  right  to  hire.  While  this  policy  is  accepted 
and  the  pressure  continues,  there  is  little  chance  that  blacklisting 
can  be  brought  to  an  end. 

The  fact  was  reinforced  when  the  House  Committee  on  Un- 
American  Activities  visited  New  York  in  August,  1955.  The  Com- 
mittee conducted  an  investigation  of  Communist  influence  in  the 
theatre.  The  impact  of  the  hearings,  though  far  less  effective  than 
any  of  the  Hollywood  probes,  buttressed  the  idea  that  the  enter- 
tainment industry  is  heavily  infiltrated  by  Communists. 

This  was  the  final  outcome  of  the  policy  that  had  been  adopted 
by  the  radio-tv  industry  in  the  turbulent  early  days  of  blacklisting. 
Blacklisting  was  institutionalized  and  the  institution  received  power- 
ful support  within  and  without  the  industry.  Every  major  network 
had  executives  appointed  to  implement  its  screening  policies.  The 
most  important  agencies  assigned  top-level  executives  to  see  that  no 
mistakes  were  made.  There  were  professional  consultants  who  for 
a  fee  supplied  dossiers  on  prospective  performers  and  writers.  And 
all  this  machinery  was  working  smoothly  and  largely  behind  closed 
doors.  Arrangements  were  verbal;  very  little  was  written  down. 
Great  care  was  taken  to  avoid  the  charge  of  conspiracy.  The  in- 
dustry, rejecting  the  word  "blacklist,"  retreated  to  high  semantic 
grounds  whenever  the  question  came  up.  But  no  one  denied  that 
certain  persons  could  not  work  until  they  were  "cleared"  —  and 


that  was  what  most  people  meant  when  they  spoke  of  blacklisting. 

Most  of  the  executives  at  the  networks,  agencies  and  packagers 
were  deeply  disturbed  by  the  institution  even  while  they  were 
creating  it.  Joseph  H.  Ream,  a  former  CBS  executive  and  predeces- 
sor of  Daniel  O'Shea  as  "security  officer"  for  that  network,  was  a 
typical  example. 

In  1950,  CBS  instituted  a  loyalty  oath  for  all  its  employees.  This 
took  place  at  the  point  of  transition  from  public  to  secret  black- 
listing. The  Council  of  the  Authors  League  of  America  took  a  dim 
view  of  the  network's  new  policy  and  wrote  a  letter  of  protest  to 
Ream.  Their  exchange  raised  most  of  the  relevant  questions  with 
regard  to  political  screening. 

The  Authors  League  Council  wrote: 

Our  opinion  is  that  the  only  valid  defense  of  American  democracy 
will  consist  of  a  re-affirmation  and  a  strengthening  of  its  ideals  and  its 
established  processes.  If  the  kind  of  personal  liberties  which  are  defined 
in  the  first  ten  amendments  of  the  Constitution  are  ever  lost,  the 
democracy  we  wish  to  defend  will  have  been  lost.  We  recognize  that  in 
times  of  stress  in  the  past  certain  personal  liberties  have  been  curtailed. 
We  feel  that  in  the  present  crisis,  the  issue  of  individual  civil  liberties 
has  become  one  of  the  central  issues  at  conflict,  and  that  no  sacrifice  in 
those  liberties  should  be  permitted  without  the  most  careful  scrutiny. 

The  letter  then  went  on  to  consider  the  CBS  loyalty  oath  and, 
by  implication,  the  entire  system  of  political  screening.  The  Council 
wrote  of  the  oath: 

It  establishes  the  principle  that  a  writer's  employment  may  depend 
upon  his  politics.  The  Authors  League  has  always  taken  the  view  that 
a  writer's  employment  should  depend  upon  his  writings.  We  fully 
understand  that  under  wartime  conditions  precautions  have  to  be  taken, 
especially  in  the  field  of  communications,  against  subversion  and  sabo- 
tage, and  that  the  move  by  CBS  has  been  taken  in  the  name  of  such 
precautions.  Nevertheless,  we  deplore  the  principle  that  the  hiring  or 
firing  of  a  writer  should  be  decided  by  his  politics,  without  recourse 
to  the  proper  channels  for  security  against  subversion  already  estab- 
lished and  now  being  extended  by  the  United  States  Government.  Your 


technique  goes  outside  and  beyond  those  channels  and  arrogates  to  one 
corporation  a  type  of  function  which  has  traditionally  belonged  to  the 
Federal  Government.  Unless  and  until  this  power  is  delegated  to  cor- 
porations in  a  legal  and  orderly  manner,  it  seems  to  us  improper  for  a 
single  corporation  haphazardly  to  take  it. 

Ream  answered  for  CBS:  "In  the  first  place,  employment  will 
not  depend  on  an  individual's  politics.  We  are  not  concerned  with 
that,  but  with  loyalty."  This  distinction  was  basic  to  the  industry's 
case.  It  was  founded  on  the  notion  that  communism  was  totally  a 
conspiracy  and  not  "political"  at  all.  From  this,  it  deduced  the 
right  to  handle  Communists  in  certain  ways  which  would  not  be 
allowable  if  only  political  beliefs  were  at  issue. 

To  the  charge  that  the  political  screening  system  was  a  private 
court  without  competence  or  mandate,  Ream  replied: 

The  answer  lies  in  how  intelligently  and  how  fairly  this  program  is 
administered,  and  this  obviously  cannot  be  proved  or  disproved  in 
advance.  Our  record  over  the  years  in  the  field  of  controversial  public 
issues  involving  public  opinion  should  provide  substantial  assurance  to 
you  that  fairness  will  be  our  touchstone. 

The  same  point  came  up  hi  another  form.  The  Authors  League 
had  stated: 

The  CBS  questionnaire  is  more  likely  to  condemn  the  loyal  unjustly 
than  to  discover  the  disloyal.  In  days  of  hysteria  like  these,  the  mere 
hint  that  a  man  has  ever  had  communistic  connections  may  damage 
his  earning  power  indefinitely.  No  safeguards  against  this  happening 
to  those  who  are  loyal  have  been  announced  by  CBS.  A  fundamental 
safeguard,  it  seems  to  us,  would  be  a  guarantee  not  to  deprive  a  writer 
of  his  job  on  any  ground  except  incompetence,  without  a  hearing. 

Ream  had  replied: 

Next,  we  necessarily  have  to  evaluate  the  reported  subversive  con- 
nections. I  have  indicated  to  our  staff  group  that  I  am  available  to 
discuss  with  any  employee  any  questions  which  he  may  have.  Also,  in 
cases  where  I  may  have  questions,  I  intend  to  seek  discussion  with  the 
employee  concerned. 


Here  again,  the  main  point  of  defense  was  the  promise  that  the 
system  would  be  engineered  in  a  fair  spirit  and  with  honest  ground 
rules.  But  this  failed  to  take  into  account  a  tremendously  impor- 
tant factor:  the  significance  of  the  growth  of  the  political  screening 
system  was  a  shift  in  responsibility.  The  networks,  agencies  and 
sponsors  no  longer  trusted  themselves  to  hire  and  fire.  They  turned 
over  their  authority  to  outsiders.  They  grumbled  against  these  out- 
siders, they  complained  about  them,  they  resented  them,  but  they 
never  failed  to  try  to  placate  them. 

Clearly  political  screening  became  something  it  was  never  in- 
tended to  be  by  those  who  began  it. 


Newsmen  and  Commentators 

THE  FIRST  RADIO  NEWS  ANALYSTS  were  foreign  correspondents  who 
experimented  with  telling  what  Hitler's  rallies  looked  like  and  re- 
porting on  what  was  being  thought  and  said  in  Europe.  As  war 
loomed,  their  attempts  to  put  the  headlines  in  a  political  context 
won  a  tremendous  response.  News  commentary  as  we  know  it  to- 
day came  into  existence  in  September,  1938,  at  the  time  of  the 
Czechoslovakian  crisis.  The  man  who  more  than  any  other  was 
responsible  for  inventing  it  was  H.  V.  Kaltenborn.  Americans 
listened  to  Kaltenborn,  to  Edward  R.  Murrow  and  William  L. 
Shirer,  and  these  men  became  known  by  voice  and  mannerism  as 
no  reporters  of  the  printed  press  had  ever  been  known.  They  be- 
came public  personalities.* 

The  Columbia  Broadcasting  System  has  long  led  in  the  field  of 
news  commentary.  This  was  due  originally  to  the  secondary  posi- 
tion of  that  network.  Before  the  war,  CBS  was  overshadowed  by 
NBC,  the  original  radio  network,  and  looked  to  fields  left  largely 
unexplored.  Among  these  was  news  broadcasting.  The  chairman 
of  the  CBS  board,  William  S.  Paley,  was  interested  in  news  broad- 
casting, and  one  of  the  network  vice-presidents,  Edward  Klauber, 
was  a  former  editor  of  The  New  York  Times.  They  set  up  a  news 
department  which  had  policies  comparable  —  but  still  not  identical 

*  Of  all  radio-tv  personalities,  newsmen  and  commentators  are  in  the  best  posi- 
tion to  "propagandize."  Comparatively  few  of  these  men  have  been  burdened 
with  the  kind  of  charges  found  in  Red  Channels.  But  because  of  the  special  nature 
of  their  work,  it  was  thought  best  to  deal  with  them  separately. 


—  with  those  of  the  best  newspapers.  News  was  to  be  edited  and 
presented  by  the  network  itself;  sponsors  could  buy  news  programs 
but  the  broadcaster  was  to  be  a  member  of  the  CBS  staff.  Paley 
had  the  idea  of  following  the  news  with  an  analysis  of  the  news, 
which,  like  an  editorial,  would  be  clearly  set  off  from  the  reports 
of  what  was  happening.  The  analyses  were  also  the  product  of 
the  network  staff  and  had  specified  limits. 

According  to  a  1939  policy  statement  written  by  Klauber: 

.  .  .  What  news  analysts  are  entitled  to  do  and  should  do  is  to 
elucidate  and  illuminate  the  news  out  of  common  knowledge,  or  special 
knowledge  possessed  by  them  or  made  available  to  them  by  this  organi- 
zation through  its  news  sources.  They  should  point  out  the  facts  on 
both  sides,  show  contradictions  with  the  known  record,  and  so  on. 
They  should  bear  in  mind  that  in  a  democracy  it  is  important  that 
people  not  only  should  know  but  should  understand,  and  it  is  the 
analyst's  function  to  help  the  listener  to  understand,  to  weigh,  and  to 
judge,  but  not  to  do  the  judging  for  him. 

The  network's  distinguished  news  chief,  the  late  Paul  White,  felt 
strongly  about  the  distinction  between  the  non-partisan  analyst  and 
the  omniscient  commentator.  White  was  largely  responsible  for 
the  character  of  the  CBS  operation. 

The  CBS  policy  was  later  taken  up  by  NBC.  The  American 
Broadcasting  Company  and  the  Mutual  Broadcasting  System  have 
worked  along  different  lines.  Their  commentators  are  either  frankly 
partisan  or  hold  to  fairly  well-defined  viewpoints.  ABC  and  MBS 
commentators  can  speak  as  they  please.  These  networks  try  to  see 
to  it  that  the  various  major  points  of  view  are  represented  in  their 
corps  of  commentators.  Thus  on  these  two  networks  men  of  such 
disparate  outlook  as  Fulton  Lewis  and  John  W.  Vandercook,  or 
George  Sokolsky  and  Elmer  Davis,  can  be  heard.  There  is  a  prob- 
lem here  in  that  few  Americans  are  sufficiently  interested  —  or 
durable  —  to  listen  to  the  balanced  total  of  a  network's  com- 
mentators; most  tend  to  listen  to  the  partisans  who  reinforce  their 


own  convictions.  But  commentators  of  all  major  persuasions  are 
there  for  those  who  wish  to  hear  them. 

This  method  of  handling  the  problem  of  partisanship  supposedly 
imposes  on  the  networks  responsibility  to  carry  a  balance  of  com- 
mentators even  if  some  are  unsponsored.  It  does  not  obligate  them 
to  keep  individuals  on  the  air.  And  it  does  not  solve  the  problem 
arising  when  a  local  station  decides  that  it  will  carry  only  broad- 
casters of  one  persuasion.  (Most  of  the  commentators  on  Mutual 
and  ABC  are  without  national  sponsorship.  Local  stations  sell 
them  to  local  sponsors,  if  they  can,  and  insert  their  own  commer- 
cial messages.) 

The  CBS-NBC  system  of  non-partisan  analysts  working  as  part 
of  a  network  staff  does  prevent  this  kind  of  local  partiality.  The 
emphasis  is  substantially  the  same  whether  a  local  station  carries 
only  one,  or  the  full  schedule,  of  network  analyses. 

The  Communications  Act  of  1934  expressly  states  that  "Nothing 
in  this  Act  shall  be  understood  or  construed  to  give  the  Commis- 
sion the  power  of  censorship  over  the  radio  communications  or 
signals  transmitted  by  any  radio  station  .  .  ."  However,  in  1941, 
the  Federal  Communications  Commission  had  before  it  the  case  of 
a  broadcaster  who  had  supported  candidates  for  public  office  and 
advocated  public  causes,  and  the  Commission,  in  its  famous  May- 
flower decision,  ruled  that  "a  truly  free  radio  cannot  be  used  to 
advocate  the  causes  of  the  licensee  ...  it  cannot  be  devoted  to 
the  support  of  principles  he  happens  to  regard  most  favorably.  In 
brief,  the  broadcaster  cannot  be  an  advocate." 

In  1949  the  Commission  reviewed  its  policy  on  editorial  opinion 
and  stated  that  while  the  "individual  licensees  of  radio  stations  have 
the  responsibility  for  determining  the  specific  program  material 
to  be  broadcast  over  their  stations,"  nevertheless  "the  basic  policy 
of  the  Congress  [is]  that  radio  be  maintained  as  a  medium  of  free 
speech  for  the  general  public  as  a  whole  rather  than  as  an  outlet  for 
the  purely  personal  or  private  interests  of  the  licensee.  This  requires 


that  licensees  devote  a  reasonable  percentage  of  their  broadcasting 
time  to  the  discussion  of  public  issues  of  interest  in  the  community 
served  by  their  stations  and  that  such  programs  be  designed  so  that 
the  public  has  a  reasonable  opportunity  to  hear  different  opposing 
positions  .  .  .  Such  presentation  may  include  the  identified  expres- 
sion of  the  licensee's  personal  viewpoint  as  part  of  the  more  general 
presentation  of  views  or  comments  on  the  various  issues  ..." 

The  parallel  which  industry  spokesmen  draw  between  the  free- 
dom accorded  newspapers  and  that  which  they  believe  broadcasting 
should  have  is  marked  by  one  particular  flaw:  in  the  present  condi- 
tion of  broadcasting,  almost  all  individual  stations  have  abdicated 
to  the  four  national  networks  any  responsibility  they  might  have  to 
initiate  the  discussion  of  international  affairs.  And  this  is  true  to  a 
lesser  degree  in  the  discussion  of  national  politics.  To  say  that  sta- 
tions should  have  a  newspaper's  freedom  to  editorialize  on  these 
issues  means  —  as  things  now  stand  —  that  the  four  networks  should 

The  first  great  controversies  about  broadcast  opinion  took  place 
in  the  Thirties.  There  was  the  Father  Coughlin  affair:  what  had 
begun  as  religious  broadcasts  changed  into  highly  controversial 
social  and  political  speeches.  Mutual  requested  the  right  to  review 
the  Coughlin  speeches  before  broadcast  and  Father  Coughlin  re- 
fused, withdrew  from  Mutual  and  spoke  over  an  ad  hoc  network. 
The  priest  was  ultimately  silenced  by  his  ecclesiastical  superiors. 

The  Orson  Welles  Martian  episode  had  nothing  directly  to  do 
with  opinion  but  vividly  demonstrated  to  both  the  industry  and  the 
public  the  power  of  the  broadcast  word  and  so  had  a  bearing  on 
subsequent  discussion  of  the  responsible  use  of  the  air.  There  were 
arguments  about  whether  Walter  Winchell  and  Boake  Carter  — 
popular,  uninhibited  and  opinionated  broadcasters  —  were  worthy 
of  the  public  influence  their  network  spots  gave  them.  Gilbert 
Seldes  wrote  in  The  Big  Audience: 


Among  the  ifs  of  history,  one  might  consider  seriously  what  would 
have  happened  to  Winchell  and  to  America  if  he  had  been  a  reactionary 
and  an  isolationist  from  1939  to  Pearl  Harbor  —  if  Pearl  Harbor  had 
come.  It  is  imaginable  that  a  clamor  against  lend-lease  and  for  appeas- 
ing Japan  might  have  brought  a  strong  isolationist  candidate  into  the 
field  instead  of  Wendell  Willkie.  It  is  conceivable  that  a  radio  broad- 
caster with  millions  of  believers,  attracted  to  him  originally  because  he 
was  entertaining,  might  have  thrown  the  balance  toward  such  a  candi- 
date. In  the  summer  of  1941  a  single  vote  in  Congress  prevented  the 
disbanding  of  American  military  training;  in  the  fall  of  that  year  one 
popular  voice  added  to  those  already  on  the  other  side  might  have 
turned  the  trick. 

When  war  came,  the  American  public  was  temporarily  united  on 
the  great  political  issues.  The  focus  of  attention  was  on  the  war 
itself.  Radio  was  performing  brilliantly  as  a  medium  for  straight 
news.  Its  speed  and  immediacy  made  it  unquestionably  the  most 
important  news  medium  for  the  public  at  large.  The  nation  switched 
on  the  radio  to  hear  its  fate. 

In  1943  a  skirmish  over  an  issue  of  freedom  of  opinion  cast 
shadows  of  what  was  to  come.  Cecil  Brown,  the  newsman  who  had 
broadcast  the  sinking  of  the  Prince  of  Wales  and  the  Repulse,  re- 
signed from  CBS  and  charged  he  was  being  prevented  from  speak- 
ing his  mind.  CBS  said  that  Brown  had  violated  the  restrictions  it 
placed  on  the  broadcasting  of  analysts'  private  opinions.  At  issue 
was  a  broadcast  Brown  had  made  in  which  he  said,  in  effect,  that 
the  American  people  had  lost  interest  in  the  war.  Paul  White, 
Brown's  chief  at  CBS,  criticized  the  broadcast  as  "out  and  out 
editorializing,"  and  thus  contrary  to  the  network's  policies.  CBS 
came  under  the  fire  of  the  Association  of  Radio  News  Analysts, 
which  charged  it  with  gagging  its  analysts.  John  W.  Vandercook, 
speaking  for  the  Association,  asked  if  the  CBS  policy  did  not  put 
the  judgment  of  public  issues  into  the  hands  of  "five  of  its  execu- 
tives who  control  the  news  policies  of  the  corporation."  The  net- 
work replied  that  what  it  was  trying  to  do  was  keep  all  judgments 


out  of  its  analyses.  White  said  that,  ideally,  "in  the  case  of  contro- 
versial issues,  the  audience  should  be  left  with  no  impression  as  to 
which  side  the  analyst  himself  actually  favors." 

Gilbert  Seldes,  who  worked  at  CBS  at  the  time  and  was  involved 
in  the  controversy,  says  that  the  intention  was  rather  to  keep  preju- 
dice out  of  the  analyses.  White  felt  very  strongly  about  the  impar- 
tiality principle;  perhaps  more  strongly  than  the  network  chiefs.  In 
any  event,  after  White  left  CBS  the  emphasis  on  "neutrality" 
changed  somewhat. 

With  the  end  of  the  war  came  an  inevitable  drop  in  the  popularity 
of  news  and  commentary.  And  with  the  peace  also  came  a  splinter- 
ing in  the  unity  of  American  public  opinion.  The  Soviet  Union  had 
been  highly  praised  during  the  war,  American  national  policy  had 
been  one  of  collaboration  with  Russia,  there  was  a  considerable 
sympathy  for  the  Russian  people.  All  that  changed  quickly.  In  the 
final  months  of  the  war  there  was  also  a  vigorous  national  debate 
over  the  future  of  Germany.  The  Morgenthau  Plan,  to  take  all 
heavy  industry  out  of  Germany  and  make  of  the  Reich  a  state  with 
an  agricultural  economy,  was  widely  supported,  as  were  proposals 
for  the  revision  of  Germany's  borders  beyond  what  had  been  set  in 
the  Versailles  treaty.  Then  there  was  the  question  of  Eastern  Eu- 
rope, supposedly  liberated  by  the  Red  Army,  actually  being  at- 
tached by  the  Soviet  Union. 

An  early  postwar  instance  of  a  commentator's  running  afoul  of 
public  controversy  was  centered  on  the  German  issue.  In  the  last 
months  of  the  war,  Dorothy  Thompson  was  conducting  a  radio  news 
commentary  for  Mutual.  In  the  spring  of  1945  she  wanted  to  go  to 
Europe  and  arranged  an  amicable  cancellation  of  her  radio  con- 
tract. The  storm  over  the  German  issue  broke  soon  after.  Miss 
Thompson  had  already  opposed  the  Morgenthau  Plan,  the  revision 
of  Germany's  1919  frontiers,  the  dismemberment  of  Germany  and, 
later,  other  provisions  in  the  Potsdam  Agreement.  She  was  severely 
criticized  in  the  liberal  press  and  her  column  was  dropped  by  several 


papers  (by  the  New  York  Post  after  a  front-page  editorial  denunci- 
ation of  her  views) .  In  addition  to  the  attacks  in  the  press,  she  suf- 
fered considerable  word-of-mouth  character  assassination  and  im- 
pugnment of  her  motives.  After  she  returned  to  the  United  States 
she  was  not  asked  to  resume  her  broadcasts,  and  while  she  sus- 
pected that  her  controversial  stand  on  the  German  question  was  a 
factor,  she  also  felt  that  the  public  probably  had  enough  of  crisis 
over  the  air  and  that  news  comment  would  suffer  a  drop  hi  popu- 
larity. She  did  not  attempt  to  get  another  program  and  has  not 
broadcast  regularly  since  that  time.* 

Another  postwar  controversy  involved  commentator  Upton 
Close.  Close  was  ultra-conservative  in  his  views  and  had  been  a 
forthright  isolationist.  After  the  war  he  made  a  celebrated  attack 
on  Bishop  Bernard  J.  Sheil.  The  Bishop  had  aroused  the  antago- 
nism of  many  right-wingers,  in  and  out  of  the  Catholic  Church,  be- 
cause of  his  public  statements  on  social  and  political  questions. 
Close's  attack  on  the  prelate  drew  an  equally  celebrated  and  dra- 
matic reply  from  the  Bishop  himself,  on  time  provided  by  the 
network.  Open  pressure  from  unions  and  left-wing  and  liberal 
organizations,  "approaching  a  boycott"  according  to  Gilbert  Seldes, 
brought  about  Close's  removal  from  Mutual.  He  turned  to  tran- 
scription but  was  unsuccessful  and  left  the  air.  He  now  publishes 
a  "nationalist"  newsletter  hi  Florida. 

William  L.  Shirer,  author  of  Berlin  Diary,  had  been  one  of  the 
first  and  most  famous  of  radio  news  commentators.  During  and 
after  the  war  he  did  a  series  of  news  commentaries  from  New  York 
and  Europe  for  CBS.  In  the  spring  of  1947  he  resigned  from  the 
network  after  a  dispute.  Shirer  felt  that  the  situation  which  brought 
about  his  resignation  was  due  in  large  part  to  the  network's  and 

*  After  Miss  Thompson's  column  was  dropped  by  the  Post,  a  liberal  radio  com- 
mentator who  was  having  somewhat  similar  difficulties  with  his  network  over  other 
issues  offered  to  join  in  a  protest  that  her  exclusion  from  the  Post  was  a  suppres- 
sion of  free  opinion.  She  replied  that  she  wanted  no  protest;  that  the  Post  had  no 
Constitutional  obligation  to  renew  her  contract  and  print  her  column. 


especially  the  sponsor's  displeasure  with  his  political  liberalism.  The 
network  and  sponsor  denied  this.  At  the  time  a  CBS  directive  for- 
bade the  expression  of  personal  opinion  by  its  commentators,  but 
Shirer  says  it  was  not  rigidly  enforced.  A  few  months  later  he  began 
a  series  of  broadcasts  over  Mutual. 

In  1954  Shirer  published  a  novel  which  was  taken  by  many  to  be 
an  autobiographical  account  of  the  affair  and  lent  itself  to  the  in- 
terpretation that  the  network  had  dropped  him  because  of  the  Com- 
munist issue.  Shirer  says  that  the  novel  was  not  an  autobiographical 
account  of  his  case  and  regrets  it  was  so  interpreted.  His  argument 
with  CBS,  he  says,  had  nothing  to  do  with  blacklists  or  charges  of 
pro-communism . 

Another  commentator  who  left  the  air  for  some  time  after  the 
war  was  John  W.  Vandercook.  He  resigned  from  NBC  after  a  dis- 
pute with  the  network  (not  his  sponsor),  in  which,  he  feels,  the  fact 
that  he  was  a  New  Deal  Democrat,  while  his  superior  in  the  news 
organization  was  a  conservative,  was  a  factor  but  not  the  only  fac- 
tor. There  was  no  question  of  blacklisting. 

Still  another  was  Raymond  Swing.  Swing  says  that  his  leaving 
the  air  (ABC)  at  this  time  was  a  consequence  of  ill  health  and  had 
nothing  whatever  to  do  with  political  issues. 

Johannes  Steel  was  a  left-wing  commentator  who  had  broadcast 
over  Mutual  during  the  war  not  as  a  member  of  the  network's  news 
staff  but  as  an  independent  commentator  on  time  purchased  spe- 
cifically for  him.  After  the  war  he  temporarily  went  off  the  air  and 
in  early  1947  a  dinner  was  held  for  him,  organized  by  Dorothy 
Parker,  from  which  grew  the  organization  called  The  Voice  of 
Freedom  Committee. 

The  Voice  of  Freedom  Committee  characterized  as  "censorship" 
the  fact  that  Shirer,  Robert  St.  John,  Vandercook,  Steel  and  others 
had  left  the  air.  The  group  organized  a  system  of  "monitors"  who 
listened  to  specific  programs  and  commentators  and  each  week 
wrote  to  the  program  in  criticism  or  praise.  "In  emergency  cases," 


one  of  its  pamphlets  said,  "whole  divisions  of  monitors  are  alerted 
and  called  into  militant  action  by  VOF  and  the  offending  station 
may  be  swamped  with  indignant  letters,  phone  calls  and  telegrams." 
It  claimed  to  have  3,000  such  monitors.  In  cities  outside  New  York 
its  members  would  go  to  stations  in  delegations  to  protest  "reaction- 
ary propaganda." 

In  May  of  1947  William  Shirer,  who  had  left  CBS  but  had  not 
begun  broadcasting  for  Mutual,  was  asked  to  appear  at  a  VOF 
meeting  in  New  York  to  discuss  the  reason  for  his  departure  from 
CBS.  He  was  told  that  Edward  R.  Murrow,  representing  CBS,  and 
a  Federal  Communications  Commissioner  would  appear  to  discuss 
the  issues  of  the  controversy.  Murrow  did  not  show  up.  The  FCC 
commissioner,  Clifford  J.  Durr,  did  appear.  Shirer  says  that  after 
attending  this  and  one  more  Voice  of  Freedom  affair,  he  came  to 
feel  that  he  was  being  exploited.  The  Committee's  political  sympa- 
thies were  certainly  not  his  own.  Thereafter  he  avoided  the  group. 

When  John  W.  Vandercook  left  NBC  the  Voice  of  Freedom 
Committee  approached  him  in  an  effort  to  enlist  him  in  their  cam- 
paign. The  commentator  took  an  instant  dislike  to  the  political 
complexion  of  the  Committee.  "I  had  to  beat  them  off  with  sticks," 
he  said  in  recalling  the  incident.  Vandercook  told  the  group  that 
he  did  not  wish  to  pose  as  a  martyr.  "One  of  the  divine  rights  of 
democracy  is  NBC's  right  to  fire  me,"  he  said. 

The  Voice  of  Freedom  Committee  made  its  special  target  Fulton 
Lewis,  Jr.,  the  Mutual  network's  scrappy  right-wing  commentator. 
Lewis  replied  with  a  bitter  attack  on  the  Committee.  The  Com- 
mittee without  success  tried  to  get  equal  time  on  Mutual  to  answer 
him.  The  Committee  claimed  that  it  was  successful  in  getting  one 
sponsor  to  drop  Lewis.  (Lewis  says  he  has  lost  several  sponsors  as 
a  result  of  liberal  and  left-wing  pressure  groups.) 

Lewis  was  not  the  only  target  of  the  Voice  of  Freedom.  At  the 
beginning  of  the  Korean  war  the  group  attacked  Eric  Sevareid, 
Richard  Harkness,  Lowell  Thomas,  Gabriel  Heatter,  John  Cameron 


Swayze,  Douglas  Edwards,  Richard  Hottelet,  CBS's  correspondent 
in  Germany  (the  Committee  compared  him  with  Goebbels),  Ed- 
ward R.  Murrow  (whose  remarks  on  the  Korean  war,  according 
to  the  Committee,  were  "a  mouldy  dish  of  red-baiting  rhetoric"), 
and  a  generous  number  of  other  commentators  and  reporters,  both 
conservative  and  liberal.  The  Committee's  position  on  the  Korean 
affair  was  founded  on  the  belief  that  North  Korea  had  been  attacked 
by  South  Korea.  After  1950,  the  Voice  of  Freedom  Committee 
faded  away. 

Of  the  ten  radio  newsmen  listed  in  Red  Channels,  only  Robert 
St.  John,  William  L.  Shirer,  and  Howard  K.  Smith  were  network 
commentators  of  national  reputation.*  Alexander  Kendrick  was 
identified  in  the  book  as  a  writer  and  foreign  correspondent  and 
subsequently  has  become  well  known  as  a  London  correspon- 
dent for  the  Columbia  Broadcasting  System.  The  other  radio  news 
commentators  listed  by  Red  Channels  were  Arthur  Gaeth,  William 
S.  Gailmor,  Roderick  B.  Holmgren,  Lisa  Sergio,  Johannes  Steel 
and  J.  Raymond  Walsh. 

Robert  St.  John  has  retired  from  broadcasting.  He  now  lives  in 

After  leaving  CBS  in  1947,  William  Shirer  broadcast  for  Mutual. 
When  Red  Channels  was  published  in  1950  he  was  in  Europe  gath- 
ering material  for  a  book.  He  recently  stated:  "Since  Red  Channels 
was  published  I  have  never  been  regularly  employed  by  a  major 
network.  It  was  not  a  matter  of  low  ratings,  etc."  One  summer  he 
broadcast  for  the  short-lived  Liberty  Broadcasting  System,  a  base- 
ball network  which  unsuccessfully  tried  to  break  into  general  pro- 
gramming. On  a  few  occasions  he  has  appeared  on  NBC's  "Today" 
as  a  guest  commentator. 

Shirer  feels  he  has  been  the  victim  of  blacklisting.   He  regards 

*  Winston  Burdett,  CBS  newsman  who  testified  in  the  summer  of  1955  that  he 
had  once  served  briefly  as  a  Soviet  agent,  was  not  listed. 


his  three  citations  in  Red  Channels  —  which  did  not  accuse  him  of 
being  a  Communist  or  directly  of  being  a  fellow-traveler  —  as  arbi- 
trary and  misleading.  Any  implication  they  made  of  sympathy  for 
communism  was  directly  contradictory  to  the  views  he  had  ex- 
pressed in  his  books  and  in  hundreds  of  broadcasts.  Shirer  feels 
that,  his  own  case  aside,  the  executives  of  the  major  networks  have 
abdicated  their  responsibilities  hi  this  matter  to  persons  outside  the 
industry.  "I  think,"  he  told  a  reporter  not  long  ago,  "that  if  the 
major  networks  had  taken  a  firm  stand  in  the  beginning,  excluding 
Communists  and  fascists  from  their  staffs,  but  making  a  fair  de- 
termination of  individual  cases,  this  thing  would  never  have  gotten 
off  the  ground.  The  network  executives  themselves  are  chiefly 
responsible."  In  recent  years  Shirer  has  devoted  himself  to  free- 
lance writing  and  lecturing. 

Howard  K.  Smith,  chief  of  the  European  news  staff  of  the  Colum- 
bia Broadcasting  System,  says  of  his  listing  in  Red  Channels:  "I  am 
happy  to  say  that  I  have  suffered  very  little  or  not  at  all.  I  have 
never  seen  the  listing  or  what  it  said.  It  produced  no  effect  on  my 
relations  with  CBS,  nor  had  any  public  reaction  that  I  have  heard 
of.  I  know  that  many  people  have  suffered  due  to  such  attacks. 
But  somehow  I  was  not  scathed." 

Alexander  Kendrick  made  a  similar  statement: 

As  I  recall,  the  citations  in  themselves  were  accurate.  They  were, 
of  course,  made  without  any  reference  to  any  other  activities  or  writing. 
I  suppose  I  am  one  of  the  fortunate  few  who  suffered  no  adverse  effects 
as  a  result.  The  listing  did  not  affect  my  relationship  with  CBS  in  any 
way.  Indeed,  after  the  listing,  I  became  a  staff  correspondent  although 
previously,  when  the  black  book  came  out,  I  had  been  only  a  local 
correspondent  in  Vienna.  Whether  there  were  any  letters  to  the  net- 
work, I  do  not  know.  I  suppose  there  must  have  been,  and  if  so,  CBS 
must  have  ignored  them.  The  point  is,  of  course,  that  CBS  News  is 
under  the  control  and  supervision  of  CBS  and  that  sponsorship  pressure 
does  not  operate  as  it  does  in  the  entertainment  phase  of  radio  and 
television.  So  far  as  I  know,  CBS  News  resisted  successfully  any  such 


pressure.  The  only  CBS  comment  made  to  me  about  Red  Channels 
was  from  Edward  R.  Murrow,  who  said:  "If  you're  in  trouble,  we're 
all  in  trouble." 

Arthur  Gaeth  could  not  be  located  for  comment  on  his  experi- 
ence with  Red  Channels.  He  formerly  broadcast  over  ABC  for  the 
United  Electrical  Workers  union. 

William  S.  Gailmor,  Roderick  B.  Holmgren  and  Lisa  Sergio  have 
all  been  retired  from  broadcasting.  Holmgren  recently  described 
his  case  this  way: 

For  the  two  years  following  the  end  of  the  war,  I  was  "labor's  own 
commentator,"  sponsored  by  the  Chicago  Federation  of  Labor  on  the 
federation's  station,  WCFL.  I  tried  to  be  scrupulously  careful  to  adhere 
to  policies  on  every  issue  about  which  I  commented.  I  was  fired  in 
September,  1947  —  three  years  before  publication  of  Red  Channels. 
When  I  pressed  for  the  reason,  I  was  told  it  was  because  I  had  "fol- 
lowed a  CIO  line."  Some  time  before  that,  I  learned,  quite  by  accident, 
that  the  manager  of  the  station  was  visited  repeatedly  by  an  agent  or 
agents  for  the  FBI,  who  talked  with  him  specifically  about  me.  It  goes 
without  saying  that  I  never  learned  any  details  of  these  meetings. 

In  December  of  1947, 1  went  to  work  for  the  Chicago  Typographical 
Union,  writing  radio  scripts  for  a  series  of  nightly  broadcasts  in  con- 
nection with  the  strike  against  five  Chicago  dailies.  Though  the  Typos 
asked  me  to  write,  produce  and  emcee  the  broadcasts,  the  WCFL  man- 
ager refused  to  let  me  set  foot  inside  the  studios.  I  continued  doing 
these  scripts  about  four  months,  and  quit  voluntarily  to  go  to  work  for 
the  Progressive  Party  in  the  spring  of  1948. 

Some  time  during  1949  or  early  1950,  I  did  a  series  of  news  com- 
mentaries for  a  new  FM  station  in  Chicago,  WMOR.  The  broadcasts 
were  unsponsored,  with  the  understanding  that  the  station  sales  staff 
would  attempt  to  obtain  a  sponsor,  using  the  live  program  itself  as 
"sample."  I  did  two  broadcasts  about  the  Peoria  Street  race  riots,  in 
which  I  identified  names  of  several  of  those  who  started  the  violence. 
A  ...  restaurant  chain  owner  who  held  some  stock  in  the  station, 
pressured  the  young  veterans  who  were  operating  the  station  to  suggest 
that  I  leave  the  air.  I  did,  remaining  friends  with  the  struggling  young 
station  directors. 

In  effect,  the  loss  of  my  job  as  commentator  for  WCFL  ended  my 


radio  career,  since  I  was  unable  to  secure  another  permanent  job  in  that 
field.  It  was  for  this  reason  that  I  turned,  in  1949,  to  the  labor  move- 
ment where  I  have  been  working  in  black-and-white  editorial  jobs  since. 
I  suppose  the  word  "progressive"  would  best  characterize  my  politi- 
cal position.  The  listing  in  Red  Channels  is  accurate.  I  was  publicity 
chairman  for  the  National  Labor  Conference  for  Peace.  I  did  teach 
classes  in  journalism  at  the  ill-fated  Abraham  Lincoln  School.  I've 
never  been  quite  clear  as  to  what  the  two  citations  proved. 

The  Red  Channels  listing,  Holmgren  feels,  merely  made  it 
"official"  that  the  door  was  closed. 

Holmgren  is  now  an  Associate  Editor  of  the  official  organ  of  the 
International  Mine,  Mill  and  Smelter  Workers,  which  is  often  cited 
as  a  Communist-dominated  union. 

Johannes  Steel  had  broadcast  for  what  is  now  station  WMGM 
in  New  York  City  after  he  left  the  Mutual  network.  Counterattack 
criticized  his  broadcasts,  and  there  was  pressure  on  him  from  var- 
ious anti-Communist  groups,  Catholic  groups  in  particular.  Steel 
believes  that  "the  worst  pressure  group  is  the  Roman  Catholic 
Church."  At  the  end  of  1948  or  early  in  1949  (he  does  not  recall 
exactly),  he  was  dismissed  by  the  station.  He  believes  that  his  dis- 
missal was  a  consequence  of  Catholic  pressure  on  the  owners  of 
the  station  but  adds  that  all  concerned  would  deny  this.  When  Red 
Channels  was  published,  Steel  had  the  distinction,  such  as  it  was,  of 
34  Communist-front  citations,  more  than  any  other  radio  com- 
mentator. At  the  time  the  listings  appeared  he  was  already  off  the 
air.  In  1950-51  he  returned  to  broadcasting  on  New  York's  WLIB 
on  time  he  purchased  himself.  But  he  is  again  off  the  air  and  has, 
he  feels,  been  "driven  off."  He  now  characterizes  his  own  political 
position  as  "an  Eisenhower  Republican,  formerly  a  Roosevelt 

J.  Raymond  Walsh  is  a  former  director  of  Research  and  Educa- 
tion for  the  CIO.  In  1945  he  went  into  radio.  From  that  year  until 
1950  he  broadcast  for  WMCA  in  New  York.  His  sponsor  was  a 


retail  chain  store.  There  was  increasing  pressure  on  the  sponsor 
during  those  five  years,  principally  because  of  Mr.  Walsh's  views  on 
foreign  policy  and  the  China  question.  His  broadcast  sharply  criti- 
cizing Winston  Churchill's  "Iron  Curtain"  speech  at  Fulton,  Mis- 
souri, brought  on  considerable  protest.  When  Red  Channels  was 
published,  he  says,  the  consumer  pressure  against  his  sponsor,  "es- 
pecially from  Catholic  groups,"  was  so  great  that  they  had  to  drop 
him,  and  as  he  was  unsponsored  he  went  off  the  air.  "There  is  no 
question  but  that  Red  Channels  played  a  very  important  role  in  my 
case,"  Walsh  says.  He  characterizes  his  politics  as  independent, 
pro-labor  and  pro-New  Deal.  "I  am  more  radical  than  many  liber- 
als but  not  from  any  specifically  Marxian  position."  He  is  now  with 
a  private  investment  concern  in  New  York. 

Raymond  Swing  was  not  listed  in  Red  Channels.  But  shortly 
after  its  publication  he  was  invited  to  debate  the  question  of  Com- 
munist influence  in  radio  with  Theodore  Kirkpatrick,  of  Counter- 
attack, before  the  Radio  Executives  Club.  Swing  argued  that  the 
Communist  problem  was  a  genuine  one  in  radio  but  that  the  danger 
was  not  only  that  commentators  and  entertainers  were  Communists 
but  that  technical  personnel  and  the  executives  themselves  might  be 
Party  members.  He  also  argued  that  the  responsibility  for  dealing 
with  the  problem  belonged  with  the  networks  themselves  and  ought 
not  to  be  turned  over  to  an  outside  group  which  worked  for  profit. 

Shortly  after  the  debate,  Swing  was  attacked  in  an  issue  of 
Counterattack.  To  the  best  of  his  knowledge,  this  had  no  effect  on 
his  career.  He  subsequently  left  the  Liberty  network  to  spend  two 
years  as  chief  political  commentator  for  the  Voice  of  America  and 
now  works  on  Edward  R.  Murrow's  staff  at  CBS. 

In  March,  1954,  Counterattack  devoted  an  entire  issue  to  Mur- 
row,  charging  him  with  receiving  an  inordinate  amount  of  praise 
from  the  Communist  press  and  criticizing  his  broadcasts  on  Big 
Four  talks,  the  Harry  Dexter  White  case,  Lieutenant  Milo  Radulo- 
vich,  and  Senator  McCarthy.  The  newsletter  stated  that  Murrow 


slanted  his  reporting  and  was  guilty  of  "unsoundness  on  vital  issues 
concerning  communism."  The  criticism  of  Murrow  has  often  been 
echoed  in  the  American  Mercury,  the  Brooklyn  Tablet  and  other 
right-wing  publications.  Murrow  obviously  has  not  been  sub- 
stantially harmed  by  the  attacks  and  has  remarked  of  unfriendly 
mail  and  pressure  campaigns,  "I  never  worry  about  that  stuff." 

Red  Channels  and  the  other  listings  obviously  cannot  be  blamed 
for  all  the  vicissitudes  in  the  careers  of  the  reputable  commentators. 
The  Red  Channels  controversy  took  place  at  a  time  when  television 
was  making  its  first  inroads  into  the  economic  structure  of  radio. 
The  industry  was  in  transition.  News  departments,  stepchildren  of 
the  industry,  are  easily  affected  by  economic  problems.  In  the  case 
of  one  well-known  commentator,  even  observers  sympathetic  to  his 
politics  suggest  that  it  was  not  politics  that  lost  him  his  job  —  it  was 

One  evaluation  of  the  total  effect  which  the  "lists"  have  had  on 
the  field  of  radio  opinion  itself  is  a  consideration  of  what  is  on  the 
air  today.  ABC  and  NBC  are  surely  no  more  conservative  in  their 
news  commentaries  than  they  were  before  Red  Channels  was  pub- 
lished. NBC's  broadcasts  of  news  comment  tend  generally  to  be  non- 
partisan  analyses.  ABC  continues  to  have  a  balance  of  representa- 
tive points  of  view.  The  Mutual  network's  Washington  news  chief 
has  been  quoted  as  saying  that  he  is  a  "conservative  working  for  a 
conservative  network." 

This  would  seem  to  be  an  accurate  description  of  the  network's 
general  point  of  view  in  news  comment.  But  Mutual's  example  does 
not  prove  any  industry  trend.  CBS  can  certainly  be  characterized 
as  more  liberal  in  its  news  analyses  than  it  was  five  or  six  years  ago. 
It  no  longer  strives  for  the  kind  of  broadcast  where,  as  Paul  White 
urged,  "the  listener  is  left  with  no  impression  as  to  which  side  the 
analyst  himself  actually  favors."  There  are  judgments  made  in  CBS 
analyses,  and  the  tone  is  "internationalist"  or  "liberal"  in  so  far  as 


such  categorization  is  valid.  But  there  are  no  crusades  and  opposing 
arguments  are  honestly  reported. 

Yet  there  have  been  consequences  from  the  events  in  which  the 
"lists"  played  a  part  which  are  more  subtle.  And  this  is  perhaps 
the  major  significance  they  have  had.  Edward  P.  Morgan,  former 
CBS  news  chief,  now  an  ABC  commentator  in  Washington,  said 
recently:  "The  lists,  as  well  as  the  whole  climate  of  opinion  of  the 
past  few  years,  put  into  the  minds  of  even  the  best  men  something 
which  was  not  there  before  —  a  care  about  the  words  they  used,  an 
instinct  to  cover  themselves  on  controversial  issues."  He  added: 
"Commentators  are  hard  to  sell  anyway.  With  a  few  notable  excep- 
tions, no  commentator  can  be  sold  to  a  sponsor  unless  his  opinions 
coincide  with  business  opinion  —  or  at  least  don't  clash  with  it." 

Lawrence  Spivak,  one  of  the  originators  of  NBC's  "Meet  the 
Press,"  argues  that  by  and  large  sponsors  do  not  use  commentators 
to  articulate  a  political  position.  "Advertisers  are  primarily  inter- 
ested in  programs  that  attract  an  audience  who  will  buy  their  prod- 
ucts or  services,  or  bring  them  good  will.  There  may  be  exceptions 
to  this,  possibly  on  a  local  level,  but  even  there  not  many  advertisers 
will  spend  money  just  to  sell  their  political  ideas." 

It  is  this  problem  of  the  general  trend  in  opinion  which  has  had 
an  inhibiting  effect  on  commentators.  The  "lists"  are  simply  one 
aspect  of  a  total  situation  which  might  be  characterized  as  an  in- 
creased tendency  among  Americans  to  condemn  rather  than  argue. 
It  is  inevitable  of  course  that  passionate  controversy  will  involve 
undercurrents  of  rumor  and  vituperation.  But  in  recent  years  the 
undercurrents  seem  to  have  quickened. 

Eric  Sevareid,  chief  of  the  CBS  Washington  news  staff,  and  some 
of  his  colleagues  did  a  few  paid  broadcasts  for  the  Voice  of  America 
in  1950.  Sevareid  personally  made  one  short  broadcast  at  the  re- 
quest of  the  Voice,  which  was  trying  to  comply  with  the  Smith- 
Mundt  Act  requiring  the  services  of  "private  enterprise."  He  and  his 
colleagues  were  then  attacked  in  several  anti-Communist  "fact 


sheets"  as  "paid  propagandists"  for  the  "pro-Communist"  Acheson 
State  Department.  Sevareid  said  recently:  "This  sort  of  thing,  the 
organized  pressure  and  the  vituperative  letters  and  calls  one  some- 
times gets,  produce  a  feeling  of  depression  or  distress  in  a  man.  Any 
fairly  sensitive  person  cannot  help  but  react." 

Sevareid  contends  that  a  commentator  ought  in  fairness  to  be 
judged  by  his  approach  to  events.  "Some  try  to  be  fair,  to  be  objec- 
tive —  in  the  sense  of  avoiding  partisanship,  not  hi  the  sense  of  being 
neutral.  Some  are  tendentious."  This,  he  feels,  is  the  difference. 
"Involved  too  is  the  special  problem  of  the  writer,  an  essentially 
private  problem  which  does  not  submit  to  formulae  and  which 
rarely  is  understood,  even  by  network  executives,  certainly  not  by 
those  who  are  organizing  pressure  campaigns  to  score  points  for 
one  side  or  the  other." 

Martin  Agronsky  of  ABC  is  a  "cooperatively"  sponsored  liberal 
commentator  who  has  been  the  target  of  heavy  pressure  in  recent 
years.  "Even  though  I  have  experienced  some  heavy  going  at 
tunes,  I  have  been  commercial.  The  network  has  backed  me  up. 
That's  all  I  ask."  Agronsky  says,  however,  that  the  problem  in  deal- 
big  with  the  various  pressures  which  affect  commentators  is  simply 
that  responsible  people  in  the  networks  and  stations  frequently  fail 
to  find  out  whether  allegations  against  commentators  are  true  or 
not.  A  station  manager  may  panic  at  an  organized  letter  campaign. 
Agronsky  feels  the  networks  must  choose  their  commentators  care- 
fully, assuring  themselves  they  have  a  responsible  staff,  and  then 
back  them  to  the  hilt. 

Drew  Pearson  had  some  specific  troubles.  Senator  McCarthy 
made  an  attack  against  him  on  the  Senate  floor  which  caused  the 
commentator  to  lose  his  sponsor.  Pearson  feels  that  the  McCarthy 
attack  also  frightened  off  some  prospective  television  sponsors.  He 
sued  McCarthy  for  libel  and  has  attempted  to  draw  the  Senator  into 
repeating  the  charges  outside  the  Senate. 

Elmer  Davis  of  ABC  says:  "I  don't  doubt  that  plenty  of  people 


have  tried  to  get  ABC  to  put  me  off  the  air,  but  apparently  all  their 
letters  go  into  the  waste  basket . . .  These  things  naturally  never  had 
any  effect  on  what  I  say." 

Chet  Huntley,  a  West  Coast  television  news  analyst  now  broad- 
casting from  New  York,  became  the  object  of  attack  in  Los  Angeles 
for  his  forthright  support  of  UNESCO,  his  criticism  of  Senator 
McCarthy  and  various  other  right-wing  causes.  Huntley's  sponsor, 
a  coffee  firm,  was  threatened  with  a  boycott.  But  liberal  groups 
rallied  to  Huntley's  support,  and  the  coffee  company  stood  right 
behind  him.  Their  sales  actually  increased  during  the  controversy 
when  Huntley's  supporters  urged  their  friends  to  buy  the  product. 
The  protesting  group  was  not  large  enough  to  offset  the  effect  on 

A  different  type  of  controversy  arose  in  1954.  Judge  Dorothy 
Kenyon,  a  prominent  liberal,  accepted  an  invitation  to  appear  on  a 
panel  discussion  show  with  Godfrey  P.  Schmidt,  entitled  "Answers 
for  Americans,"  Mr.  Schmidt  is  president  of  AWARE,  Inc.  Two  days 
later  Judge  Kenyon  called  the  program  office  to  inform  the  director 
that  she  had  discovered  "Answers  for  Americans"  to  be  a  Facts 
Forum  show.  She  explained  that  she  was  a  member  of  Americans 
for  Democratic  Action  and  that  the  "national  policy"  of  that  or- 
ganization "bars"  its  members  from  appearing  on  any  Facts  Forum 

The  case  was  referred  by  Facts  Forum  to  the  American  Civil 
Liberties  Union  as  a  "shocking  case  of  blacklisting."  But,  after  an 
investigation,  the  ACLU  found  that  "Miss  Kenyon's  action  consisted 
only  of  a  decision  by  a  person  invited  to  be  a  participant  not  to  take 
part  in  a  program  after  discovering  that  it  was  sponsored  by  an 
organization  opposed  by  her  organization,  the  ADA." 



EVER  SINCE  BLACKLISTING  in  radio-tv  began,  "clearance"  has  been 
possible.  Dozens  of  persons  who  were  at  one  time  "unemployable" 
have  been  put  back  to  work,  often  after  months  and  even  years  of 
anguish-ridden  idleness.  Performers  listed  in  Red  Channels  and 
denounced  furiously  in  Counterattack,  the  American  Legion's  Fir- 
ing Line,  the  Brooklyn  Tablet,  the  American  Mercury  and  similar 
publications  have  been  found  acceptable  again.  They  have  been 

"Clearance"  is  never  a  lonely  operation.  The  artist  who  "clears" 
himself  must  do  so  to  the  satisfaction  of  those  responsible  for 
blacklisting  him  in  the  first  place.  He  must  "clear"  himself  in  such  a 
way  as  to  assure  potential  employers  that  they  are  not  going  to  run 
into  difficulty  if  they  hire  him.  Sponsors  must  feel  certain  that  those 
who  originally  demanded  he  be  blacklisted  now  consider  him 

A  New  York  public-relations  expert  who  has  guided  more  than 
a  dozen  once-blacklisted  performers  to  the  "right  people,"  explained 
his  role  this  way: 

"If  a  man  is  clean  and  finds  his  way  to  me  the  first  thing  I  do  is 
examine  his  record.  I  look  particularly  to  see  if  it  includes  charges 
that  he  is  a  member  of  the  Communist  Party.  I  want  to  find  out 
if  he  is  'clearable.'  Once  I  am  convinced  that  he  is  not  a  Commu- 
nist, or  if  he  has  been  a  Communist,  has  had  a  change  of  heart,  I 
ask  him  whether  he  has  talked  to  the  FBI.  If  he  hasn't,  I  tell  him 
the  first  thing  he  must  do  is  go  to  the  FBI  and  tell  them  everything 


he  knows.  I  tell  him  to  say  to  them,  'I  am  a  patriotic  citizen  and  I 
want  you  to  ask  me  any  questions  you  have  in  mind.' 

"Then  I  find  out  where  he  is  being  blacklisted  —  where  it  is  he 
can't  get  work,  who  in  the  industry  is  keeping  him  from  working, 
and  who  outside  the  industry  has  made  him  controversial.  If,  for 
instance,  I  find  it  is  the  American  Legion,  I  call  one  of  the  top 
Legion  officials  and  tell  him  this  man  has  come  to  me  for  help  and 
says  he  is  innocent.  The  official  may  say  to  me,  "Why  this  guy  has 
47  li stings  and  I  know  people  who  say  they  don't  believe  him.'  But 
I  say,  'I'm  going  to  have  him  make  a  statement.'  Then,  when  the 
Legion  guy  gets  the  statement  and  has  read  it,  I  call  and  ask  him 
for  a  note  saying  he  is  satisfied  by  the  statement.  He  will  usually 
say,  'I  won't  put  anything  in  writing  but  if  anyone  is  interested  have 
him  call  me.' 

"Somewhere  along  the  line  I  may  find  George  Sokolsky  is  in- 
volved. I  go  to  him  and  tell  him  that  the  Legion  official  thinks  this 
boy  is  all  right.  If  I  can  convince  Sokolsky  then  I  go  to  Victor 
Riesel,  Fred  Woltman  [New  York  World-Telegram  and  Sun  staff 
writer]  or  whoever  else  is  involved.  When  I've  gotten  four  'affi- 
davits' from  key  people  like  these,  I  go  to  Jack  Wren  at  BBD&O 
and  to  the  'security  officer'  at  CBS. 

"I  wait  a  few  days,  then  I  telephone  Wren.  He  may  say  to  me, 
'You're  crazy.  I  know  15  things  this  guy  hasn't  explained.'  I  ask 
him,  'What  are  they?'  and  he  says,  'He  didn't  come  clean.'  So  I  send 
for  the  guy.  He  comes  in  here  and  he  moans  and  wails  and  beats 
his  head  against  the  wall.  'I  have  searched  my  memory,'  he  will  say. 
'I  have  questioned  my  wife  and  my  agent.  There's  not  a  thing  they 
can  remember.' 

"I  call  Wren  back  and  he  says,  'When  your  boy  is  ready  to  come 
clean  I'll  talk  to  him.'  In  that  case  we've  reached  a  dead  end.  My 
boy  has  been  cleared  but  he  can't  get  a  job.  I  know  cases  where 
victims  have  sat  around  eight  to  ten  months  after  'clearance'  before 
they  got  work." 


A  second  possibility,  the  "clearance"  guide  pointed  out,  is  that 
Wren  will  say,  "I  think  you  are  right  about  this  boy,  but  what  do 
you  want  from  me?  I  can't  hire  him."  In  that  case,  the  public- 
relations  man  said,  the  victim  has  to  find  a  friend  who  is  casting  a 
television  show  and  is  willing  to  put  him  on  the  air  to  test  his 
"clearance."  "If  the  attempt  backfires  and  protests  come  in,  the 
guy  is  through." 

"Last  of  all,"  the  guide  said,  "there  is  the  possibility  that  Wren 
will  pick  up  the  phone  and  call  a  casting  director  or  producer  and 
say,  'Why  don't  you  give  Bill  a  part  hi  the  show?'  "  Once  the  black- 
listed performer  appears  on  a  CBS  television  program,  it  is  notice 
to  the  industry  and  to  all  the  producers  that  he  can  be  used. 

The  public-relations  expert  concluded:  "A  guy  who  is  in  trouble, 
even  if  he  has  a  good  case  for  himself ,  will  stay  dead  unless  he  finds 
someone  like  me  who  can  lead  him  through  the  jungle  of  people  who 
have  to  be  satisfied.  He  has  to  persuade  these  people  one  by  one. 
Usually  he  finds  his  way  to  a  lawyer  and  that  comes  a  cropper,  or 
he  finds  a  public-relations  man  or  press  agent  who  doesn't  have  the 
confidence  of  the  'clearance  men,'  and  he's  only  wasting  his  time." 

Without  access  to  the  chief  "clearance  men"  (who  are  often  the 
same  persons  who  make  the  damning  indictment),  the  blacklisted 
artist  can  get  nowhere.  These  particular  men  are  all-important. 
They  have  the  power  to  wound  and  the  power  to  heal  the  wound. 
They  can  hold  off  right-wing  criticism,  which  in  turn  cuts  off  pres- 
sure on  sponsors  or  networks  when  a  "controversial"  artist  is  put 
back  to  work.  If  the  performer  is  well  known  he  may  need  not 
only  their  passive  sufferance  but  active  support  to  re-establish  him- 
self with  that  section  of  the  public  given  to  telephoning  networks 
and  writing  protest  letters  to  sponsors.  So  it  is  fairly  meaningless 
to  say  that  no  one  can  clear  a  blacklisted  artist  but  the  artist  himself. 

What  are  the  qualifications  for  a  "clearance  man"?  His  own  anti- 
Communist  credentials  should  be  recognized  by  the  groups  which 


stimulate  blacklisting.  He  must  be  acceptable  not  only  to  other 
"clearance  men"  but  to  the  networks'  and  advertising  agencies' 
"security  officers."  His  word  must  mean  something  to  persons  like 
Laurence  A.  Johnson,  the  powerful  Syracuse  grocer,  who  hold  the 
economic  weapon  which  seemingly  sends  terror  into  the  hearts  of 
network  and  agency  executives.  His  "clearance"  must  stick  with 
right-wing  editors,  columnists  and  public  speakers.  It  is  especially 
important  that  they  stick  with  various  Hearst  columnists,  the  editors 
of  Counterattack,  and  the  officers  in  charge  of  the  American  Le- 
gion's anti-subversive  committees.  In  some  cases  the  "clearance 
men"  have  sold  their  services  as  public-relations  consultants  and 
speech  writers  to  the  artists  going  through  "clearance."  In  other 
cases  "clearance"  activities  are  based  on  disinterested  service. 

A  blacklisted  artist  who  wants  to  clear  himself  might  see  any  one 
of  a  fairly  select  group  of  men  whose  connections  and  influence 
confer  upon  them  the  powers  of  absolution.  Some  are  more  influ- 
ential than  others,  but  all  have  "clearance"  notches  in  their  belt. 

The  most  professional  of  all  is  Vincent  Hartnett  —  professional 
not  in  the  sense  that  his  word  carries  the  most  weight  (actually  the 
leading  "security  officers"  on  Madison  Avenue  take  a  sniffy  attitude 
toward  Hartnett)  but  that  he  makes  a  full-time  occupation  out  of 
what  for  others  is  merely  a  sideline. 

Hartnett  describes  himself  as  a  "talent  consultant."  This  does  not 
mean  that  he  passes  on  a  singer's  voice,  a  musician's  ability  or  a 
chorus  girl's  legs;  it  means  that  agencies  and  sponsors  check  with 
him  on  the  political  backgrounds  of  people  being  considered  for  a 
job.  His  fees  are  modest  —  $5  for  a  first  report  on  an  artist,  $2  for 
additional  checking.  Where  thoroughgoing  investigation  seems 
called  for,  the  price  may  go  as  high  as  $20. 

In  an  interview  with  Jack  Gould,  radio-tv  editor  for  The  New 
York  Times,  Hartnett  "emphasized  that  he  did  not  accept  money 
from  artists  personally  who  might  wish  to  avail  themselves  of  his 


advice  in  countering  pro-Communist  allegations."  The  interview 
was  reported  in  the  Times,  June  20,  1955.  Two  years  earlier,  when 
a  well-known  actress  wanted  to  do  just  that,  Hartnett  wrote  back 
to  her  attorney  that  further  research  would  be  necessary  in  order  to 
insure  a  complete  report,  and  to  authenticate  information.  The  fee 
for  such  a  complete  report  would  be  two  hundred  dollars.  This 
would  include  a  thorough  analysis  of  Miss  X's  left-wing  connections 
in  the  theatre,  as  well  as  listed  affiliations  with  activities  cited  as 
Communist-front.  It  would  also  include  photographic  copies  of  key 
exhibits.  If  the  actress  really  wished  to  correct  her  past  mistakes,  it 
would  be  necessary  for  her  to  review  her  entire  record  —  whether 
obtained  from  Hartnett  or  from  whatever  source  she  wished. 
Hartnett  said  there  were  a  few  other  experts  in  this  field,  in  addition 
to  himself,  who  would  be  able  to  make  such  an  analysis,  but  he 
imagined  their  fees  would  be  the  same  as  his,  and  in  some  cases  a 
bit  higher.  .  .  . 

Hartnett  was  a  pioneer.  He  wrote  articles  about  "Red  infiltra- 
tion" of  radio-tv  and  the  theatre  for  the  Catholic  magazine,  The 
Sign,  before  Red  Channels  appeared.  He  has  written  on  the  same 
subject  for  the  American  Mercury  and  the  American  Legion  Maga- 
zine. He  takes  credit  for  Red  Channels  (which  he  once  described 
as  "no  more  than  a  primer  on  the  subject,  containing  not  a  tenth  of 
the  material  in  my  files").  He  is  currently  engaged  in  writing  a  big- 
ger and  better  Red  Channels  to  be  called  File  13,  Volume  2.  The 
book,  like  File  13  (Volume  1)  which  he  circulated  a  few  years  ago, 
is  intended  for  a  special  clientele  and,  so  the  rumors  go  on  Madison 
Avenue,  will  sell  for  several  hundred  dollars. 

Hartnett  may  be  the  most  widely  criticized  man  in  the  radio-tv 
industry,  because  he  is  frankly  in  the  business  of  exposing  people 
with  "front  records"  and  then,  later,  of  "clearing"  them  —  or  as 
the  Times  writer  delicately  put  it,  "advising  them  on  how  to  counter 
pro-Communist  allegations."  But  some  of  Hartnett's  sharpest  critics 
are  the  well-paid  "security  officers"  on  Madison  Avenue.  Certainly 


Hartnett  has  not  grown  rich  on  his  profits,  and  he  is  a  hard-working, 
thoroughgoing  researcher.  He  seems  to  have  hundreds  of  facts  in 
his  head  and  dozens  of  documents  at  his  fingertips. 

Hartnett  has  been  aptly  described  as  a  "walking  filing  case." 
Mention  a  performer's  name  and  he  will  snap  back  with  something 
like  this  —  "Oh,  yes,  he  endorsed  People's  Radio  Foundation,  cited 
in  the  American  Legion  Summary  in  November,  1949;  signed  a 
letter  put  out  by  the  American  Committee  for  Indonesian  Inde- 
pendence —  you  can  find  that  in  a  1946  issue  of  the  Indonesian  Re- 
view; sent  a  greeting  to  Mother  Bloor  on  her  75th  birthday  —  a 
Birthday  Souvenir  Book  was  published;  and,  yes,  he  signed  the 
Open  Letter  for  Closer  Cooperation  with  the  Soviet  Union,  re- 
ported in  Eugene  Lyon's  The  Red  Decade,  page  249." 

Hartnett  believes  fiercely  in  what  he  is  doing.  Even  in  ordinary 
conversation  he  sounds  like  a  Counterattack  editorial.  He  hammers 
away  at  the  "Communist  conspiracy"  (never  simply  "communism" 
or  the  "Communist  Party"),  the  "CP  transmission  belt,"  the  Party's 
"coffers"  (never  its  bank  account) ,  etc.  He  distinguishes  sharply  be- 
tween "liberals"  and  "anti-Communists."  Questions  about  the  civil- 
liberties  aspect  of  blacklisting  he  dismisses  as  so  much  anti-anti- 

In  April,  1951,  Hartnett  was  called  as  the  first  witness  to  appear 
before  the  Senate  Internal  Security  Subcommittee  investigating 
"Subversive  Infiltration  of  Radio,  Television  and  the  Entertainment 
Industry."  He  declared  that  between  1936  and  '50  "the  Actors 
Equity  Association  appeared  to  be  dominated  by  the  pro-Commu- 
nist faction."  But  the  situation  at  the  time  he  was  testifying,  he  said, 
was  considerably  improved.  "However,  it  is  still  critical."  Hartnett 
proceeded  then  to  cite  the  voluminous  Communist  records  of  two 
radio  writers.  One  he  described  as  a  "triple-threat  man  of  the  Com- 
munist Party";  the  other,  a  one-time  president  of  the  Radio  Writers 
Guild,  he  described  as  "the  next  important  pro-Communist  writer." 

Hartnett  received  no  public  credit  for  his  part  in  preparing  Red 


Channels,  but  he  let  it  be  known  the  idea  was  his  and  after  the  book 
appeared  he  became  a  recognized  authority  on  communism  in  the 
radio-tv  industry.  He  lectured  frequently  before  veterans  and 
Catholic  parish  groups  and  was  formally  honored  by  the  Catholic 
War  Veterans  a  few  years  ago.  His  fame  has  spread  outside  New 
York.  When  a  Hollywood  actress  tried  to  find  out  how  she  could 
be  cleared  for  radio-tv,  Roy  Brewer  himself  referred  her  to  Hartnett. 

Some  of  the  general  dislike  for  Hartnett  in  radio-tv  circles  can  be 
traced  to  the  inquisitorial  tone  of  his  letters.  He  was  criticized 
openly  during  an  AFTRA  (American  Federation  of  Television  and 
Radio  Artists)  meeting  on  this  score.  In  the  spring  of  1955,  Leslie 
Barrett,  a  television  actor,  spoke  in  favor  of  the  AFTRA  resolution 
to  condemn  AWARE,  Inc.  "There  is  disagreement,"  Barrett  said, 
"but  few  will  speak  out.  Why?  Because  'I've  got  a  little  list,'  as  the 
saying  goes,  and  if  your  name  is  listed,  you  do  not  work.  Needless 
to  say  the  situation  is  deplorable.  One  is  afraid  to  look  at  anyone, 

to  speak  to  anyone,  to  protest  on  the  floor You  come  hi  silently, 

you  leave  silently." 

Barrett  —  a  shy  man  not  in  the  habit  of  addressing  union  meet- 
ings —  was  enthusiastically  applauded  by  the  radio-tv  performers 
for  breaking  the  silence.  Before  he  sat  down,  he  read  a  letter  he  had 
received  from  Hartnett  a  few  weeks  earlier.  After  receiving  the 
letter,  the  actor  said,  he  experienced  nothing  but  "grief  and  anxiety 
...  I  can  neither  hold  my  food  nor  sleep." 

The  letter  from  Hartnett  went  this  way: 

In  preparing  a  book  on  the  Left  Theater  I  came  across  certain  infor- 
mation regarding  you.  A  photograph  of  the  1952  New  York  May  Day 
Parade  shows  you  marching  to  the  right  of  [Barrett  deleted  the  name]. 
It  is  always  possible  that  people  who  have  in  good  faith  supported 
certain  causes  come  to  realize  that  their  support  was  misplaced.  There- 
fore, I  am  writing  you  to  ascertain  if  there  has  been  any  change  in 
your  position.  You  are,  of  course,  under  no  obligation  to  reply  to  this 
letter.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  I  am  under  no  obligation  to  write  to  you. 
However,  my  aim  is  to  be  scrupulously  fair  and  to  establish  the  facts. 


If  I  do  not  hear  from  you,  I  must  conclude  that  your  marching  in  the 
1952  May  Day  Parade  is  still  an  accurate  index  of  your  position  and 
sympathies  .  .  . 

Barrett's  lawyer  wrote  to  Hartnett  and  stated  that  the  actor  had 
never  marched  in  a  May  Day  Parade  in  his  life  and  had  no  Com- 
munist leanings  or  sympathies  whatsoever.  Hartnett  answered  by 
writing  directly  to  Barrett: 

To  my  surprise,  I  received  today  a  letter  .  .  .  from  Mr.  Klein,  a 
lawyer  ...  I  say  I  was  surprised  because  I  wrote  my  .  .  .  letter  to 
you,  not  to  Mr.  Klein  or  any  other  member  of  your  family  ...  I  have 
no  way  of  establishing  that  Mr.  Klein  is  authorized  to  speak  for  you  . . . 
Parenthetically,  is  Mr.  Klein  the  same  Mr.  Klein  who  in  1939  resided 

at ,  Brooklyn,  New  York  and  who  is  listed  as  having  signed 

the  CP  nominating  petitions,  New  York  State  and/or  New  York  City, 
1939-40?  Enclosed  is  a  photograph  of  a  group  of  marchers  on  the 
New  York  May  Day  Parade.  The  gentleman  at  left  center,  underneath 
red  arrow  marking,  certainly  looks  to  me  like  you.  It  is  possible,  I  am 
mistaken.  There  may  be  some  other  actor,  unknown  to  me,  in  New 
York,  who  closely  resembles  you  .  .  . 

Barrett's  lawyer  was  not  the  Klein  who  signed  the  nominating 
petition.  Barrett  was  not  the  actor  (if  indeed  it  was  an  actor)  who 
was  photographed  at  the  May  Day  Parade.  Hartnett  was  finally 
satisfied  on  both  these  counts  and  wrote  Barrett  saying  he  hoped  the 
actor  "incurred  no  expense  by  the  unnecessary  move  of  calling  in 
a  lawyer.  This  only  muddied  the  waters." 

Other  actors  during  the  same  whiter  received  letters  from  Hart- 
nett demanding  that  they  "explain"  past  political  associations  under 
penalty  of  being  "listed"  in  his  book  on  the  Left  Theater.  In  some 
cases  the  demands  were  backed  up  by  a  threat  that  if  they  did  not 
satisfy  Hartnett  that  they  had  "changed  their  positions,"  he  would 
publish  the  "facts"  —  and  this,  he  hinted  strongly,  would  certainly 
have  an  effect  on  their  popularity  and/or  employability. 

An  actor  who  had  appeared  in  a  play  put  on  at  a  rally  honoring 
several  Soviet  visitors  during  the  very  early  postwar  period  received 


one  of  these  letters  from  Hartnett.  Hartnett  stated  that  if  he  did  not 
hear  from  the  actor  he  could  only  presume  he  was  still  high  in  the 
councils  of  the  Communist  Party.  The  actor,  a  man  who  never  took 
any  interest  in  politics,  was  stunned.  The  half-forgotten  perform- 
ance Hartnett  resurrected  seemed  entirely  innocent  at  the  time.  The 
Soviet  visitors  honored  at  the  meeting  were  on  a  tour  of  the  United 
States  sponsored  by  the  State  Department.  The  actor  merely  re- 
peated a  role  he  played  in  a  radio  drama  during  the  war,  and  he 
did  so  at  the  request  of  a  radio  producer. 

This  performer,  who  sought  the  advice  of  a  lawyer,  also  incurred 
some  "unnecessary"  expenses.  The  price  he  paid  hi  anxiety  about 
his  future  was  something  else  again. 

Hartnett's  position  on  blacklisting  is  clear:  he  is  for  it.  Like 
many  others,  he  balks  at  the  word  but  accepts  the  fact.  Not  long 
ago  he  stated  his  belief  that  "no  provable  Communist  Party  mem- 
ber or  provable  collaborator  of  the  Communist  Party  should  work 
on  radio  or  television." 

Several  questions  arise  here:  the  question  of  Communist  Party 
membership  is  clear  enough,  but  what  is  a  "collaborator"?  The 
"proof"  consists  in  the  kind  of  citations  found  in  Red  Channels, 
but  "collaborator"  remains  a  word  open  to  several  meanings.  Is 
signing  a  Communist-sponsored  petition  "collaboration"?  It  could 
be  clearly  so,  if  that  was  the  intention  of  the  signer.  But  the  whole 
problem  of  a  front  is  that  it  is  a  front  and  not  the  real  thing;  by  its 
very  definition,  non-Communists  are  drawn  in.  In  the  very  begin- 
ning Red  Channels  made  no  distinctions  between  willing  collabo- 
rators and  "dupes"  unwittingly  brought  into  the  Communist  orbit. 
It  could  make  no  such  distinction  without  the  ability  to  read  the 
human  heart.  The  confusion  is  cleared  up,  according  to  Hartnett, 
when  the  "dupe,"  ready  to  admit  his  "mistake,"  lends  himself  to 
anti-Communist  activity. 

But  Hartnett  remains  the  judge  of  what  is  and  is  not  "anti-Com- 


munist."  For  instance,  when  a  reporter  asked  him  whether  he  would 
accept  participation  in  Americans  for  Democratic  Action  as  an  ex- 
ample of  anti-communism,  he  answered  candidly  no,  he  would  not. 
The  ADA,  he  said,  may  be  anti-Communist  vis-a-vis  world  com- 
munism but  it  is  "soft  on  communism"  at  home;  it  is  part  and 
parcel  of  the  "world- wide  collectivistic,  socialistic  movement."  By 
the  same  token,  an  erstwhile  "dupe"  trying  to  gain  his  credentials 
as  an  anti-Communist  could  not  afford  to  support  the  AFTRA 
resolution  to  condemn  AWARE,  Inc.,  however  much  he  may  have 
believed  that  such  groups  as  AWARE  hinder  rather  than  help  the 
fight  against  Communism. 

The  point  of  course  is  not  whether  Hartnett's  political  opinions 
are  wrong  or  right.  The  point  is  that  some  of  those  who  do  not 
honestly  go  along  with  them  either  have  to  conform  or  risk  un- 

The  following  is  a  statement  Vincent  Hartnett  offered  to  the 
author  of  this  report: 

It  is  initially  noted  that  "blacklisting"  in  its  traditional  trade-union 
sense  refers  to  denial  of  employment  because  of  union  activities.  In 
this  correct  sense,  there  is  no  known  "blacklisting"  of  talent  in  radio-tv. 
By  application,  "blacklisting"  has  been  recently  used  to  convey  denial 
of  employment  because  of  subversive  activities.  It  has  also  been  used 
to  connote  denial  of  employment  by  Communists  or  pro-Communists 
to  individuals  who  have  actively  opposed  communism. 

No  real  understanding  of  this  question  is  possible  unless  one  first 
understands  that  since  the  1930s  there  has  been  a  "cold  war"  in  show 
business  between  the  Communists  and  their  allies  on  the  one  hand,  and 
active  anti-Communists  on  the  other  hand.  Communist  literature  is 
replete  with  descriptions  of  Communist  efforts  to  penetrate  the  theatre 
(in  its  broad  sense)  and  use  "art  as  a  weapon  in  the  class  struggle." 
The  conflict  with  the  Communist  forces  in  the  theatre  was  first  joined 
in  an  important  manner  in  Actors  Equity  Association.  The  conflict 
spread  to  radio  in  an  important  manner  in  1943.  The  Communists 
stepped  up  their  efforts  in  radio  in  1946,  following  receipt  of  a  directive 


from  the  Soviet  Union.  (See  my  article,  "They've  Moved  In  on  TV," 
American  Legion  Magazine,  January  1953,  pp.  26  ff.) 

As  a  basic  tactic,  the  Communist  forces  sought  wherever  possible 
to  give  available  jobs  to  party  members  or  collaborators  with  the 
Communists.  Patronage  has  been  of  the  essence  of  Communist  suc- 
cesses in  the  theatre.  Those  who  had  jobs  to  give  did  not  need  to  be 
Party  members;  they  could  be  "sympathizers." 

That  such  patronage  was  used  seems  a  conclusion  warranted  from 
an  examination  of  the  casting  on  certain  TV  shows.  The  old  "T-Men 
in  Action"  series  (from  its  inception  until  late- 1952)  habitually  fea- 
tured known  Communists  and  individuals  with  significant  Communist- 
front  records.  So  did  the  old  "Big  Story"  series,  which  was  also  for- 
merly on  radio.  (Cf.  op.  cit.,  p.  26.) 

Complementary-wise,  these  series  in  the  period  noted  featured  few, 
if  any,  active  anti-Communists.  It  is  not  stated  that  the  series  deliber- 
ately "blacklisted"  active  anti-Communists:  by  hiring  a  relatively  very 
high  incidence  of  Communists  and  Communist-fronters,  they  achieved 
the  same  effect. 

In  recent  years,  other  TV  series  which  have  manifested  a  high 
incidence  of  Communists  and  Communist-fronters,  and  a  low  incidence 
of  active  anti-Communists,  comparatively  speaking,  are  "Danger," 
"Philco  TV  Playhouse,"  and  "Omnibus"  (a  project  of  the  Ford 

There  was  probably  nothing  illegal  in  the  effective  "blacklisting"  of 
active  anti-Communists  on  such  series  as  the  old  "T-Men."  By  the 
same  token,  there  is  nothing  illegal  in  efforts  to  favor  anti-Communists 
on  radio-TV.  Such  efforts  have  been  dictated  by  the  necessity  of 
resisting  Communist  efforts  to  penetrate  radio-TV  and  use  those  media 
for  Party  purposes.  The  war  against  Communist  subversion  is  not  just 
five  thousand  miles  away.  It  is  more  immediately  right  here  in  New 


The  Syracuse  Crusade 

LAURENCE  A.  JOHNSON  is  A  BUSINESSMAN  of  some  prominence 
around  his  home  town  of  Syracuse,  New  York.  He  owns  and  oper- 
ates four  self-service  grocery  stores  and  is  active  in  civic  affairs. 
His  shrewd,  colorful  merchandising  has  won  the  admiration  of  other 
store  owners  all  over  the  United  States.  But  to  the  "security  offi- 
cers" on  Madison  Avenue,  Johnson  is  a  good  deal  more  than  a  suc- 
cessful grocer.  He  is  at  once  a  nuisance  and  an  asset,  for  he  keeps 
a  watchful  eye  on  their  hiring  practices  and,  in  doing  so,  bears  out 
their  common  contention  that  blacklisting,  however  regrettable,  is 
economically  necessary.  "If  we  don't  screen  out  controversial  peo- 
ple," as  one  executive  put  it,  "we  will  be  hurting  the  sales  of  the 
product  we  are  trying  to  sell.  Therefore,  not  to  screen  would  be 
unbusinesslike  and  violate  the  trust  of  stockholders." 

This  "economic"  argument  was  stated  in  its  clearest  form  by 
Paul  M.  Hahn,  president  of  The  American  Tobacco  Company, 
makers  of  Lucky  Strikes.  Hahn  wrote  not  long  ago: 

The  company  which  I  represent  is  a  publicly  owned  commercial 
corporation,  engaged  in  the  manufacture  and  marketing  of  trade-mark 
consumer  goods,  which  are  offered  for  sale  to  the  general  public.  It  is 
owned  by  some  85,000  shareholders.  Its  management  is  put  into  office 
by  the  shareholders  ...  for  the  purpose  of  safeguarding  and  increasing 
the  value  of  their  investments,  of  earning  profits  which  can  be  paid  to 
the  85,000  owners  in  the  form  of  dividends.  To  perform  the  respon- 
sibility which  has  been  entrusted  to  it,  this  management  must  strive  to 
maintain  and  improve  the  Company's  business,  which  means  main- 
taining and  increasing  the  sales  of  its  products  to  the  purchasing  public. 


When  a  company  such  as  ours  uses  its  corporate  funds  to  sponsor  a 
program  on  television  or  radio,  it  does  so  with  but  one  purpose  —  to 
reach  the  largest  possible  number  of  the  public  as  its  audience,  and  to 
present  its  products  to  that  audience  in  the  most  favorable  light  .  .  . 
since  it  is  the  function  of  an  artist  employed  on  such  a  program  to 
please  rather  than  to  displease,  and  since  the  successful  promotion  of 
consumer  products  depends  in  large  measure  on  the  impression  left 
by  sponsored  entertainment,  it  follows  that  we  would  be  wasting  share- 
holders' funds  were  we  to  employ  artists  or  other  persons  who,  under 
company  auspices,  are  likely  to  offend  the  public  .  .  .  We  would  dis- 
approve of  employing  an  artist  whose  conduct  in  any  respect,  "politi- 
cal" or  otherwise,  has  made  him  or  is  likely  to  make  him  distasteful 
to  the  public. 

Laurence  A.  Johnson,  who  takes  action  when  a  "controversial" 
person  does  appear  on  radio-tv,  uses  economic  threats  to  get  his 
way.  In  addition,  much  of  his  effort  has  gone  into  making  obscure 
and  unknown  performers  "controversial."  The  Syracuse  grocer, 
therefore,  not  only  lends  credence  to  the  "economic"  argument  for 
blacklisting;  generally  speaking,  he  is  the  argument. 

This  is  not  to  say  that  were  there  no  Johnson  there  would  be  no 
blacklisting.  Far  from  it.  Without  him  though  the  industry  spokes- 
men would  be  hard  put  to  illustrate  their  dollars-and-cents  case. 
But  everyone  can  see  that  when  the  grocer  hi  Syracuse  objects  to 
how  his  suppliers  use  their  advertising  money,  he  does  something 
about  it.  He  visits,  phones,  telegraphs  or  writes  networks,  adver- 
tising-agency executives  and  sponsors  themselves.  He  does  not  say 
he  will  remove  the  products  of  the  offending  sponsor  from  the 
shelves  of  his  Syracuse  stores,  but  he  does  threaten  to  hang  a  sign 
over  their  product,  pointing  out  that  these  manufacturers  employ 
"subversives."  That  is  usually  enough  to  get  action.  Moreover, 
Johnson  encourages  other  store  owners  to  join  hi  the  crusade  and 
urges  shoppers  to  write  letters  threatening  to  withdraw  patronage 
if  sponsors  do  not  heed  his  judgment  about  radio-tv  talent. 

For  all  their  influence,  Johnson  and  his  Syracuse  supporters  do 


not  command  a  wide  popular  following.  For  example,  they  cam- 
paigned against  Edward  R.  Murrow  in  one  of  their  publications 
(Spotlight)  and  urged  readers  to  send  protests  to  Murrow's  spon- 
sor, the  Aluminum  Company  of  America.  But  Alcoa,  according 
to  Arthur  P.  Hall,  vice-president,  did  not  receive  a  single  protesting 
letter  as  a  result  of  the  Spotlight  story. 

Johnson  is  well  known  in  the  supermarket  trade,  and  on  many 
matters  his  word  counts  for  something.  From  the  beginning,  then, 
a  number  of  large  corporations  employing  radio-tv  talent  cooper- 
ated willingly,  almost  eagerly,  with  his  crusade.  From  time  to  time 
the  grocer  has  released  portions  of  his  correspondence  with  busi- 
ness executives  who  had  only  good  words  for  his  efforts  to  police 
the  air  waves.  For  instance,  a  vice-president  of  Kraft  Foods  Com- 
pany wrote  him  on  September  8,  1952:  "It  is  indeed  heartening  to 
know  that  you  are  continuing  your  crusade  ...  I  sincerely  hope  you 
keep  up  the  good  work."  On  another  occasion  the  President  of  the 
General  Ice  Cream  Corporation  wrote:  "I  think  it  is  wonderful 
that  you  have  taken  this  interest  hi  ferreting  Communists  out  of  our 
entertainment  industry.  I  wish  there  were  more  people  like  you." 

Armed  with  letters  like  these,  Johnson  became  a  power  on  Madi- 
son Avenue.  Few  if  any  of  the  advertising  executives  have  faith 
in  his  judgments.  But  with  their  most  important  clients  in  the 
grocer's  corner,  even  fewer  are  prepared  to  ignore  him.  As  the  legal 
head  of  one  agency  put  it:  "He  gets  the  sponsors  worried.  He  puts 
the  heat  on  them.  Then  they  put  the  heat  on  us.  How  much  of 
that  can  you  stand?" 

Johnson's  crusade  began  in  1951.  His  influence  grew  rapidly. 
And  as  he  became  more  of  a  power,  his  demands  increased  accord- 
ingly. In  time,  even  some  of  the  corporation  executives  who  once 
praised  his  efforts  had  all  they  could  take.  In  a  letter  to  a  district 
manager,  one  corporation  executive  with  responsibility  for  an  im- 
portant television  program,  outlined  some  of  the  difficulties  he  had 
in  dealing  with  Johnson.  The  executive  wrote: 


Briefly,  Mr.  Johnson  for  several  years  has  been  taking  it  upon  him- 
self to  put  various  pressures  on  food  manufacturers,  and  others  using 
television,  to  force  them  to  refrain  from  engaging  certain  individuals 
accused  by  Mr.  Johnson  and  his  group  in  Syracuse  of  being  identified 
with  the  Communist  movement.  I  believe  it  is  obvious  to  you,  as  well 
as  to  [our]  customers  that  [our]  company  would  not  knowingly  hire 
a  Communist,  a  subversive,  or  an  objectionable  character  of  any  sort 
.  .  .  The  only  difference  of  opinion  between  Mr.  Johnson  and  us  is 
that  we  are  not  willing  to  accept  his  accusations  or  statements  as 
sufficient  reason  for  putting  any  individual  on  a  blacklist  .  .  .  The  facts 
of  the  matter  are  that  Mr.  Johnson  is  desirous  of  our  hiring  certain 
individuals  whom  he  names,  to  tell  us  how  to  run  our  business  — 
individuals  who,  like  himself,  are  fighting  communism  and  Commu- 
nistic talent  in  the  theatrical  world.  He  also  has  asked  us  from  time 
to  time  to  hire  certain  talent,  people  active  in  this  same  crusade,  but, 
unfortunately,  people  with  questionable  talent,  most  of  whom  we  can- 
not use.  On  the  other  hand,  he  overlooks  entirely  the  fact  that  we  have 
used  some  of  his  people  on  many  occasions.  It  is  apparent  that  Johnson 
is  not  interested  in  our  desire  to  work  with  him  and  cooperate  —  he  and 
his  group  want  to  dictate  our  policies  .  .  . 

Up  and  down  Madison  Avenue  there  are  steady  complaints  about 
Johnson's  interference.  But  the  industry  has  never  tested  the 
grocer's  power  in  any  meaningful  way.  On  the  few  occasions  when 
he  has  been  challenged  he  appears  to  have  come  off  second  best. 
Still,  the  chances  of  his  power's  being  fully  tested  are  not  good.  For 
in  Johnson,  the  Madison  Avenue  fraternity  sees  a  germ  of  reality 
worth  a  thousand  opinion  polls.  The  man  from  Syracuse  saves  the 
industry  from  looking  like  a  punch-drunk  boxer  who  takes  a  swipe 
at  the  air  here  and  there,  then  staggers  back  from  imagined  blows. 
With  Johnson  in  the  ring,  the  industry  spokesmen  do  not  have  to  feel 
foolish  when  someone  asks  just  how  real  the  "economic"  threat  is. 
That  argument  is  based  on  pleasing  "the  public";  for  purposes  of  de- 
fending blacklisting,  Johnson  is  the  public.  He  can  always  be  cited  if 
one  asks  what  the  industry  is  afraid  of.  In  going  straight  to  the  spon- 
sor, Johnson  hits  the  exact  nerve  center.  No  sponsor  wants  his  prod- 


uct  associated  with  "controversy."  "All  Johnson  did,"  said  one 
network  executive,  "was  to  turn  around  a  can  of  coffee  and  discover 
that  there,  lo  and  behold,  were  Mr.  Chase  and  Mr.  Sanborn." 

When  Johnson  began  his  personal  crusade  he  already  had  a  num- 
ber of  factors  in  his  favor.  His  was  a  typical  medium-sized  business 
in  a  typical  medium-sized  market.  Yet  he  was  close  enough  to  New 
York,  and  the  home  offices  of  his  suppliers,  their  advertising  agen- 
cies, and  the  radio-television  networks,  to  make  his  presence  felt. 
(Industry  and  sponsor  executives  and  performers  asking  "clear- 
ance" who  have  spent  time  and  money  on  personal  visits  to  Johnson 
might  be  grateful  that  he  was  not  rooted  in  the  deep  South  or  far 
Northwest.)  What  is  more,  he  was  eminently  respectable. 

The  Syracuse  grocer's  adventures  on  Madison  Avenue  began 
when  his  son-in-law  John  Buchanan  was  re-called  to  serve  with  the 
Marines  in  Korea.  It  was  Johnson's  daughter,  Eleanor  Buchanan, 
who  started  the  operation  early  in  1951.  Her  father  helped  mightily, 
providing  contacts,  mimeographing  equipment,  money  for  mailings, 
etc.  Later  he  took  the  lead  personally  and  made  his  famous  sorties 
into  the  big  time  of  Hollywood  and  New  York  alone. 

On  June  12,  1951,  Mrs.  Buchanan  sent  a  letter  to  American 
Legion  Post  #41  in  Syracuse.  The  letter  indicated  there  had  been 
a  meeting  between  Johnson,  his  daughter,  an  official  of  Post  #41, 
and  other  Legion  members.  In  it,  Mrs.  Buchanan  said  she  was 
compiling  material  from  Red  Channels,  Counterattack  and  news- 
paper clippings:  "Dad  and  I  were  pleased  that  you  agree  manu- 
facturers can  be  persuaded  to  remove  Communist  sympathizers 
from  their  advertising  programs  on  radio  and  television.  As  you 
gentlemen  pointed  out  in  our  meeting  last  Friday,  the  task  is  too 
great  for  me  alone.  I  am  grateful  for  your  aid.  .  .  ." 

About  the  same  time,  Mrs.  Buchanan  sent  a  letter  to  Syracuse 
housewives.  It  was  addressed  to  "The  Lady  of  the  House"  and 
carried  with  it  several  pages  of  material  quoted  from  Red  Channels 
and  Counterattack  and  a  copy  of  a  Daily  Worker  story  on  a  Madi- 


son  Square  Garden  rally  against  the  Parnell  Thomas  Committee. 
Then,  on  July  24,  1951,  in  a  talk  before  the  Syracuse  Kiwanis  club, 
Mrs.  Buchanan  explained  her  position  this  way: 

"My  husband,  a  veteran  of  World  War  II,  never  received  a 
penny  for  being  a  member  of  the  Inactive  Reserves.  When  he  was 
recalled  to  service  last  October,  it  meant  leaving  the  small  town  on 
the  Hudson  where  we'd  been  so  happy.  The  company  in  which 
he'd  been  found  to  be  a  valuable  asset,  my  small  but  interesting 
teaching  position  at  Vassar  College,  all  our  plans  for  the  future. 
And  I  know  that  Jack  detested  military  life.  He's  very  unmilitary 
about  hanging  up  his  clothes.  But  so  many  of  our  friends  were 
reservists,  I  just  took  it  for  granted.  Only  now,  faced  with  the  pros- 
pect of  being  apart  from  one  another,  I  asked  him  one  day  why  on 
earth  he'd  ever  signed  up  in  the  Reserves.  He  answered  quietly  and 
simply  in  one  word.  'Patriotism.' ' 

A  few  sentences  later,  Mrs.  Buchanan  quoted  from  a  letter  from 
her  husband  in  Korea:  "I  have  not  been  sick,  which  is  a  blessing 
in  this  land  of  loose  bowels  and  bodies.  The  flies  go  from  the  dead 
Gook  twenty  feet  away,  to  the  fish  heads  he  left  behind,  to  my  C 
rations,  so  I'm  glad  my  stomach  is  strong." 

"Well,"  concluded  Mrs.  Buchanan,  "my  stomach  isn't  that 
strong.  It  sickens  me  to  know  of  those  banquets  engineered  by  Red 
sympathizers  on  radio  and  television  to  raise  funds  for  their  hench- 
men, and  those  do-nothing  patriotic  citizens  who  discuss  the  wrongs 
of  the  world  over  a  dinner  table  while  my  quiet,  unassuming  Jack 
ate  his  lunch,  surrounded  by  dead  Chinese." 

Mrs.  Buchanan  fired  a  crusade  that  reached  out  far  beyond 
Syracuse.  She  not  only  pleaded  with  the  Kiwanis,  the  American 
Legion,  the  Rotarians,  the  Advertising  Club  memhers,  and  house- 
wives in  Syracuse  to  follow  her  lead,  she  sent  protest  letters  with 
"documentation"  to  sponsors,  including  Philco,  Kraft  Foods,  Bor- 
den  and  Stopette,  as  well  as  to  NBC  and  CBS.  She  issued  a  bulletin 
listing  a  number  of  actors  who,  she  said,  should  be  given  preferen- 


tial  treatment  in  casting  offices.  (Among  the  performers  named  on 
this  "white  list"  was  Charlie  McCarthy,  Edgar  Bergen's  dummy.) 

In  September,  1951,  Syracuse  Post  #41  of  the  American  Legion 
set  up  an  Un-American  Activities  Committee  and  two  months 
later  began  circulating  a  newsletter  which  later  became  Spotlight. 
Spotlight  relies  heavily  on  Counterattack,  the  Firing  Line  and 
other  "listing"  publications  for  its  "documentation."  It  supports 
Senator  McCarthy,  runs  articles  by  Vincent  Hartnett,  backs  the 
Bricker  Amendment  and  crusades  steadily  against  "Communists, 
Left  Wingers  and  One  Worlders."  In  short,  it  merely  adds  another 
voice  to  the  right-wing  chorus  that  thunders  into  the  executive 
suites  on  Madison  Avenue. 

Another  Syracuse  group  was  organized  as  the  Veterans  Action 
Committee  of  Syracuse  Super  Markets.  It,  too,  issued  publications 
backing  up  Johnson's  demands.  This  group  is  headed  by  Francis  W. 
Neuser,  a  Johnson  employee. 

The  Syracuse  groups,  while  insisting  that  each  is  independent  of 
the  other,  act  in  concert.  One  large  sponsor  told  about  a  typical 
Johnson  campaign.  "At  one  o'clock  I  got  a  telegram  signed  by 
Larry  Johnson.  At  two  o'clock  a  telegram  arrived  signed  by  the 
Syracuse  American  Legion  post.  At  three  o'clock  there  was  a  wire 
from  the  Veterans  Action  Committee  of  Syracuse  Super  Markets." 

Johnson's  campaign  has  been  taken  more  seriously  on  Madison 
Avenue  than  in  Syracuse  itself.  More  inches  of  newsprint  have  been 
spent  on  him  in  New  York  City  than  in  his  own  home  town.  Even 
when  Harvey  Matusow  testified  that,  at  Johnson's  behest,  a  Madison 
Avenue  agency  paid  him  $150  for  a  phony  "blacklist,"  the  Syra- 
cuse Post-Standard  put  the  story  on  page  six  and  in  its  headline 
merely  referred  to  Johnson  as  a  "local  man." 

Johnson,  of  course,  was  one  of  the  "sophisticated  anti-Commu- 
nists" taken  in  by  Matusow.  At  one  time  he  relied  heavily  on  the 
young  "ex-Communist"  for  inside  information.  Matusow  was  anx- 


ious  to  be  hired  as  a  "talent  consultant"  (in  Vincent  Hartnett's 
phrase)  to  help  screen  radio-tv  performers,  and  Johnson  urged 
more  than  one  sponsor  to  take  advantage  of  his  services. 

After  Matusow  confessed  he  had  been  a  "false  witness,"  Johnson 
minimized  the  earlier  friendship.  But  at  least  one  corporation 
executive  was  ungracious  enough  to  remind  the  grocer  that,  by  his 
own  standards,  he  himself  was  now  tainted  by  a  past  "association." 

At  the  time  Johnson  was  relying  on  Matusow  for  information  to 
use  against  radio-tv  performers,  Matusow  was  employed  by  Count- 
erattack. The  grocer  had  no  reason  to  believe  that  the  young  man 
was  anything  other  than  what  he  said  he  was,  a  sincere,  knowledge- 
able anti-Communist.  Certainly  Johnson  was  not  alone  in  putting 
his  trust  in  Matusow.  But  the  agencies  which  accepted  Matusow 
as  an  "expert"  did  so  mainly  to  please  the  grocer  and  convince  him 
that  they  were  sincerely  cooperating  with  his  crusade. 

In  Syracuse,  few  were  surprised  that  Harvey  Matusow  had  fooled 
Johnson.  In  his  home  town  the  crusader  is  regarded  as  a  sincere 
patriot  but  a  man  frequently  carried  away  by  his  own  zeal.  "He  is 
a  perfect  front  man  for  the  sharpies  in  New  York,"  one  Syracuse 
leader  said.  Few  of  Johnson's  fellow  townsmen  can  understand  why 
he  is  taken  so  seriously  on  Madison  Avenue. 

The  first  newsletter  issued  by  the  Un-American  Activities  Com- 
mittee of  Syracuse  American  Legion  Post  #41  reported  that  it 
was  organized  originally  when  a  phonograph  record  made  by  The 
Weavers,  then  a  popular  quartet,  was  brought  to  the  attention  of 
John  Dungey,  vice-commander  of  the  Post.  The  Post  passed  a 
resolution  which  in  substance  asked  that  all  radio  and  television 
stations,  music  stores  and  juke  box  distributors  withdraw  records 
made  by  these  entertainers.  (Pete  Seeger  of  the  Weavers  was  listed 
in  Red  Channels.) 

Soon  after  that,  representatives  of  the  Syracuse  University  radio 
and  television  centers  and  the  six  local  stations  met  to  discuss  John- 
son's anti-Red  drive.  They  unanimously  decided  not  to  give  hi  to 


the  growing  pressure.  In  the  future,  they  agreed,  they  would  not 
listen  to  protests  from  Johnson  which  were  not  "adequately  docu- 
mented." ("By  that,"  a  participant  at  the  meeting  reported,  "we  did 
not  mean  Counterattack.")  They  stated  bluntly  that  they  intended 
to  decide  for  themselves  what  was  and  was  not  "adequate"  evidence. 
After  this  decision  was  announced,  local  protests  about  records 
played  on  the  air  came  to  an  end.  One  Syracuse  station  executive, 
recalling  the  incident,  said  recently:  "I  don't  know  what's  the  mat- 
ter with  those  people  in  New  York.  Maybe  they're  so  big  they  have 
to  be  stupid." 

Stupid  is  not  quite  the  word  for  it.  Rather,  Laurence  A.  Johnson 
represents  something  Madison  Avenue  might  reasonably  be  ex- 
pected to  fear,  and  which  to  them,  therefore,  makes  blacklisting,  if 
not  worthwhile,  then  at  least  economically  justifiable.  For  the  lead- 
ers of  the  radio-tv  industry  are  anything  but  eager  to  test  the 
strength  of  Johnson's  crusade.  Neither,  of  course,  are  those  who  see 
in  the  crusade  a  convenient  instrument  for  manufacturing  protests. 
Spotlight  lately  has  carried  as  a  regular  feature  a  column  stemming 
from  the  activities  of  AWARE,  Inc.  And  on  occasion,  the  "confes- 
sions" of  radio-tv  personalities  in  process  of  "clearance"  have  ap- 
peared in  the  newsletter's  pages.  This  kind  of  thing  makes  John- 
son look  even  more  threatening.  As  he  appears  more  fearsome, 
there  is  more  reason  to  fear  him. 

Here  is  the  way  one  prominent  producer  and  packager  put  it: 

The  hub  as  I  know  it  is  Johnson.  There  is  a  list  in  every  agency 
and  even  one  in  this  office.  But  the  master  plan  is  held  in  Syracuse 
because  nowhere  else  is  there  so  much  activity. 

These  blacklisters  are  crackpots.  This  is  the  McCarthy  group  and 
they  get  into  this  thing  because  it  makes  them  feel  good.  It  gives  them 
a  chance  to  push  people  around,  also  to  be  wined  and  dined  with  big 
business  men  they  would  otherwise  never  even  meet.  And  they  can 
always  bring  the  pressures  to  bear  by  reaching  old  widows  on  the 
board  of  directors  of  stock  companies.  Big  corporations  scare  easily. 
They're  afraid  of  publicity.  One  complaint  is  enough,  you  know.  Even 


program  directors  who  haven't  yet  been  attacked  by  Johnson  are  afraid 
they  might  be.  As  far  as  the  protest  letters  go,  I've  never  seen  even  one 
that  wasn't  inspired  by  these  people. 

But  producers  scare  easily  too.  This  one,  after  speaking  so  bit- 
terly, said  softly:  "Publicly  of  course  I  have  to  take  an  on-the-fence 
position.  I  can't  make  any  statements." 


"Take  Their  Word" 

FOR  THE  AMERICAN  LEGION  POSTS  which  care  to  use  it,  the  semi- 
monthly Firing  Line,  published  by  the  Legion's  Commission  on 
Americanism,  is  a  prime  source  of  information.  Its  circulation, 
estimated  at  about  4,000,  is  limited  mainly  to  department  and  post 
commanders  of  the  Legion.  But  anyone  can  subscribe.  As  one 
Madison  Avenue  "security  officer"  put  it  not  long  ago,  Firing  Line 
is  "one  of  the  usual  sources"  to  which  networks  and  ad  agencies 
turn  for  guidance. 

The  Legion's  newsletter  is  older  than  Counterattack.  Before  be- 
coming the  Firing  Line  it  bore  the  less  dramatic  but  perhaps  more 
accurate  head:  Summary  of  Trends  and  Developments  Exposing 
the  Communist  Conspiracy.  Today  it  follows  fairly  close  the  stand- 
ard form  employed  by  Counterattack,  Red  Channels  and  Vincent 
Hartnett's  File  13.  (J.  B.  Matthews  provided  the  blacklisting 
movement  with  most  of  its  root  information  with  his  "Appendix  IX," 
but  credit  must  surely  go  to  Hartnett  for  showing  how  to  put  that 
information  into  tidy  form,  something  like  a  job  resume.)  The 
Firing  Line's  sub-billing  —  "Facts  for  Fighting  Communism"  —  is 
only  a  verb's  toss  from  Counterattack's  "Facts  to  Combat  Commu- 
nism," and  it  often  happens  that  they  are  referring  to  the  same  facts. 
The  Firing  Line  is  published  out  of  the  Legion's  national  head- 
quarters in  Indianapolis,  but  its  policies  are  set  in  Washington  by 
Lee  Pennington,  assistant  director  of  the  Americanism  Commis- 
sion, and  James  F.  O'Neil,  director  of  Legion  publications. 

The  blacklisted  television  performer  who  wants  to  be  cleared 


soon  learns  that  here  are  two  men  he  would  be  wise  to  cultivate. 
As  long  as  Firing  Line  remains  "one  of  the  usual  sources,"  this 
will  be  so. 

Pennington  had  been  with  the  FBI  for  25  years  when  he  took  the 
Legion  post.  Until  1940  he  was  a  Bureau  specialist  in  loose  ac- 
counting practices;  then  he  became  the  FBI's  liaison  man  with  the 
Legion.  A  week  after  leaving  the  FBI  in  1953,  he  took  over  the 
assignment  as  director  of  the  Commission. 

When  Pennington  speaks  about  "Americanism"  he  conjures  up 
a  comfortable  Norman  Rockwell  calendar  image.  The  thornier 
philosophic  problems  of  democratic  government  (and  this  seems 
true  of  many  other  guardians  of  "Americanism")  seem  not  to 
bother  him.  Pennington  is  proud  of  the  Legion's  Americanism 
Commission.  "We  do  a  lot  of  positive  things,  too,"  he  is  at  pain  to 
point  out.  The  Commission,  for  instance,  supports  high-school 
essay  contests,  target-rifle  tournaments  and  traffic-safety  programs. 

Pennington's  "sources"  for  the  Firing  Line  are  familiar  docu- 
ments: his  shelves  are  stocked  with  the  written  records  of  the 
Tenney  (California),  Broyles  (Illinois)  and  Fish  (New  York) 
Committee  hearings  on  subversive  activities.  The  voluminous  rec- 
ord of  the  House  Committee's  various  hearings  occupy  the  place  of 
honor.  To  this  basic  library  must  be  added  the  Communists'  own 
record.  Not  long  ago  Pennington  assigned  one  of  his  staff  the 
monotonous  task  of  indexing  every  copy  of  the  Daily  Worker  pub- 
lished since  1940.  Pennington  says  he  is  not  permitted  to  look  at 
FBI  files.  As  an  evaluator  of  who  is  and  is  not  open  to  suspicion, 
he  makes  every  effort  not  to  let  personal  feelings  influence  his  judg- 
ments. "I  was  25  years  with  the  FBI;  you  had  to  restrain  yourself. 
It's  hard  to  break  an  old  dog  of  his  habits." 

One  of  the  interesting  aspects  of  the  blacklisting  picture  is  that 
everyone  in  the  business  of  "listing"  thinks  the  other  fellow  occa- 
sionally gets  carried  away.  Pennington  is  no  exception.  His  re- 
straining influence  is  placed  on  the  editorial  staff  of  the  Firing  Line 


in  Indianapolis.  "In  order  to  evaluate,"  Pennington  says,  "we  have 
to  get  all  the  facts,  we  have  to  be  very  careful.  Unless  there  is  a 
general  pattern  of  continued  affiliations  with  the  Party,  we  won't 
use  it."  But  —  "Usually,  when  someone  is  called  to  testify  there  is  a 
long  record."  And  where  there  is  a  question  of  a  letterhead? 
"Mostly,  I'll  take  the  letterhead.  If  the  man  was  not  sympathetic 
or  did  not  have  a  long  string  of  affiliations,  he  would  not  have  been 
asked  to  join  in  the  first  place." 

The  official  litany  is  everywhere  the  same.  "We  don't  clear  any- 
one; it  is  not  up  to  us  to  be  the  judges.  We  only  get  the  information 
out  to  alert  people."  Moreover,  Pennington  "cordially  dislikes"  vigi- 
lantism.  "We  tell  people  to  report  their  information  to  the  nearest 
office  of  the  FBI  and  make  no  attempt  at  evaluating  it  themselves. 
They  may  have  run  across  something  valuable  to  a  security  case." 
The  American  Legion  posts  are  autonomous  of  course;  if  they 
decide  to  picket,  that's  their  business.  But  the  national  office  dis- 
courages public  demonstrations.  "I  had  a  movie  executive  call  me 
up,"  Pennington  told  a  reporter  who  was  interested  in  his  views, 
"and  the  guy  wanted  me  to  come  to  New  York  to  clear  somebody. 
I  told  him,  'I  don't  clear  anybody;  have  him  clear  himself.'  " 

But  the  fact  remains  that  Pennington,  as  keeper  of  the  Firing 
Line  file,  would  have  to  know  if  the  man  actually  had  "cleared 
himself"  —  and  to  whose  satisfaction.  The  reporter  reeled  off  the 
familiar  names,  beginning  with  George  Sokolsky.  "They  are  all 
pretty  level-headed  fellows,"  Pennington  said.  "I  would  take  their 
word  for  it." 

It  may  safely  be  said  that  he  does  rely  on  their  word  as  much  as 
they  rely  on  his  —  "clearances"  seldom  begin  with  Lee  Pennington 
but  somewhere  along  the  line  he  has  to  come  into  the  picture.  Still 
Pennington  prides  himself  on  making  his  own  judgments  and  insists 
firmly  that  he  doesn't  "clear"  anyone.  It  is  largely  a  question  of 

James  Francis  O'Neil,  director  of  Legion  publications,  has  had  a 


long  and  distinguished  career  in  the  American  Legion.  He  was  an 
outstanding  National  Commander  and  over  a  period  of  many  years 
served  in  various  capacities  with  the  Americanism  Commission. 
O'Neil,  who  has  been  in  the  forefront  of  many  of  the  Legion's 
"positive"  activities,  has  testified  before  various  Congressional  hear- 
ings as  a  Legion  spokesman  and  been  granted  many  honors. 

The  director  of  Legion  publications  —  whose  political  views 
rarely  if  ever  vary  from  the  public  positions  taken  by  the  Legion  — 
came  into  the  picture  early.  He  passed  on  the  letters  which  the 
Hollywood  producers  sent  to  Legion  headquarters  in  the  early  '50's. 
On  this  assignment  O'Neil  worked  with  his  friend  George  Sokolsky. 
In  the  opinion  of  those  who  have  followed  the  operation  closely, 
O'Neil  does  Sokolsky's  bidding  where  "clearance"  is  concerned. 
Like  Pennington,  he  is  inclined  to  take  Sokolsky's  word  for  it. 

Like  Sokolsky,  O'Neil  prefers  that  his  role  in  "screening"  movie, 
radio  and  television  talent  remain  his  own  business.  When  a  re- 
porter asked  him  about  it,  he  answered:  "I  have  seen  a  number  of 
people  socially,  but  I  see  no  reason  why  this  should  be  anybody's 
concern  but  mine."  Sokolsky  used  almost  the  same  words  in  answer 
to  the  same  enquiry.  Like  Sokolsky  too,  O'Neil  said  he  would  not 
"mention  individuals."  Sokolsky  felt  that  if  he  were  to  speak  for  the 
record  he  would  only  be  hurting  people  whose  ordeal  was  behind 

O'Neil  was  willing  to  discuss  the  Legion's  public  and  official 
record.  As  far  as  he  could  recall,  there  was  not  much  more  to 
the  record  than  the  formal  condemnation  of  Charlie  Chaplin  and 
the  convention  resolution  which  led  up  to  J.  B.  Matthews'  article 
on  Hollywood  in  the  American  Legion  Magazine.  He  underscored 
Pennington's  point  that  since  the  posts  and  departments  of  the 
Legion  are  autonomous,  only  the  National  Commander  can  speak 
for  the  Legion  as  a  whole. 

O'Neil  believes  that  nine  out  of  every  ten  Americans  are  alert 
to  the  menace  of  communism  but  only  a  small  number  understand 


the  intricacies  of  the  conspiracy.   This  wisdom,  he  feels,  falls  to 
"men  who  have  devoted  their  lives  to  the  fight." 

It  follows  then  that  these  men  -  Sokolsky  and  O'Neil  among 
them  —  are  the  proper  judges  of  whether  in  fact  an  accused  per- 
former has  actually  "cleared  himself." 


Security  on  Madison  Avenue 

IN  1954  THE  TOP  100  NATIONAL  ADVERTISERS  in  the  United  States 
spent  some  $848  million  total  in  all  media.  Of  this,  42  per  cent 
($359  million)  went  to  buy  radio  and  television  time.  In  most 
instances  these  purchases  were  made  or  influenced  by  one  of  the 
leading  New  York  advertising  agencies.  The  top  four  agencies 
(Batten,  Barton,  Durstine  &  Osborn;  Young  &  Rubicam;  J.  Walter 
Thompson;  McCann-Erickson)  own  or  had  surveillance  over  the 
radio-television  shows  offering  the  lion's  share  of  the  most  desirable 
job  opportunities. 

The  agency  which  looms  largest  in  the  minds  and  conversation 
of  radio-tv  people  in  respect  to  blacklisting  is  BBD&O,  particu- 
larly in  the  person  of  one  of  its  public-relations  officials  —  Jack 
Wren,  the  top  "security  officer"  on  Madison  Avenue. 

The  reason  for  Wren's  prominence  is  not  easily  apparent.  To  be 
sure,  BBD&O  controls  a  number  of  choice  jobs,  but  so  do  several 
other  leading  agencies.  Moreover,  Young  &  Rubicam,  through 
the  highly  publicized  Jean  Muir  and  Phil  Loeb  cases,  has  been  more 
widely  identified  with  blacklisting.  Yet  to  the  performer  who  wants 
to  be  cleared  for  work,  Wren's  name  buzzes  through  the  industry 
grapevine.  He  and  BBD&O  are  mentioned  more  frequently  than 
any  other  individual  or  agency.  The  reason  why  is  good  matter 
for  speculation. 

Jack  Benny  once  portrayed  a  kind  of  Dick  Tracy  character 
whose  name  or  face  others  could  not  remember,  even  after  they 
had  just  spoken  to  him.  Jack  Wren  is  not  quite  that  anonymous, 


but  he  gives  the  impression  he  would  like  to  be.  For  compared 
to  the  popular  image  of  the  advertising-public  relations  man,  Wren 
is  an  anomaly.  For  one  thing,  he  shares  none  of  the  affectations 
commonly  associated  with  the  trade.  His  office  is  a  small,  plainly 
furnished  room  tucked  off  in  a  corner.  He  has  one  phone  and  more 
often  than  not  answers  it  himself;  yet  he  is  prominently  listed  on 
the  ground  floor  directory  of  BBD&O  executives. 

Wren  can  well  afford  to  represent  himself  to  BBD&O  clients  as 
the  man  running  the  tightest  screening  shop  in  the  industry.  Per- 
formers and  others  who  have  talked  to  him  in  this  connection 
agree  that  he  keeps  on  hand  perhaps  the  most  extensive  and  de- 
tailed stock  of  information  in  the  business.  They  also  seem  to  think 
that  in  his  zeal  to  perform  his  duties,  he  has  become  involved  per- 
sonally in  the  politics  of  blacklisting. 

There  is  some  evidence  to  bear  them  out.  Wren's  private  repu- 
tation extends  far  in  the  field,  farther  perhaps  than  even  BBD&O's. 
Lawyers  who  have  had  occasion  to  attempt  "clearance"  of  clients 
consider  Wren  a  power  to  conjure  with.  When  the  Hollywood- 
Broadway  actor  Leif  Erickson  sought  "clearance"  not  long  ago,  at 
least  one  of  the  accounts  he  wrote  of  past  political  mistakes  crossed 
Wren's  desk.  Wren  helped  comedian  Henry  Morgan  out  of  a 
jam  in  1952.  Morgan  was  having  trouble  getting  work  because  of 
his  Red  Channels  listing  and  gave  a  speech  before  a  television 
artists  union  meeting  which  helped  exonerate  him.  Wren  wrote  the 
speech.  He  also  arranged  for  the  World-Telegram  and  Sun's 
Fred  Woltman  to  write  a  feature  story  on  the  speech  commending 
Morgan  for  his  courage. 

Yet  publicly  Wren  remains  something  of  an  enigma.  He  is  an 
expert  at  teaching  others  how  to  swim  in  the  treacherous  currents 
of  publicity  but  studiously  avoids  getting  his  own  feet  wet.  One  of 
the  rare  occasions  when  his  name  cropped  up  in  news  accounts 
came  in  February,  1955.  He  found  himself  dunked  in  the  flow  of 
the  day's  news  then  by  an  irresponsible  young  man  named  Harvey 


Matusow.  The  occasion  was  Matusow's  appearance  in  New  York's 
Federal  District  Court.  As  an  ex-Communist  and  paid  government 
witness,  Matusow  had  been  instrumental  in  getting  13  Communist 
Party  leaders  convicted  for  Smith  Act  violations.  Having  under- 
gone another  change  of  heart,  he  wanted  now,  on  a  hearing  over 
petition  for  retrial,  to  retract  his  earlier  testimony. 

In  the  course  of  the  hearing,  Matusow  swore  he  had  once  sold 
a  "list"  to  Lennen  &  Mitchell  (now  Lennen  &  Newell) .  Later  that 
same  year,  Matusow  testified,  he  helped  Wren  set  up  a  similar 
"list,"  in  this  case  not  for  money  but  presumably  as  a  public  service. 

Lennen  &  Mitchell  came  up  from  this  dousing,  sputtering  de- 
nials that  it  had  ever  used  the  list  Matusow  drew  up.  Wren  was  not 
heard  from  for  some  days.  Finally,  for  the  benefit  of  the  trade 
weeklies,  he  pooh-poohed  the  testimony.  But  that  of  course  ended 
the  matter  only  momentarily.  Other  preparations  had  to  be  made. 

Wren  appears  to  be  one  of  the  school  of  public-relations  men 
who  approach  their  work  in  much  the  same  way  a  mathematician 
might  tackle  a  problem  in  vector  analysis.  He  begins  by  trying  to 
resolve  as  best  as  he  can  a  number  of  pressures  impinging  on  his 
client,  on  the  agency  and  on  himself.  To  find  some  norm  of  action 
he  seeks  out  the  balance  of  forces  which  will  achieve  the  least 
amount  of  friction  in  any  given  instance. 

Normally,  Wren  achieves  this  balance  by  dealing  not  only  with 
the  pillars  of  blacklisting  but  with  others  whose  criticisms  can 
mean  trouble.  Those  who  might  be  hi  a  position  to  certify  Wren's 
intentions  to  minority  groups  or  "liberals,"  and  who  themselves  are 
above  suspicion  (e.g.  the  Anti-Defamation  League,  or  American 
Civil  Liberties  Union,  or  Martin  Gang,  the  West  Coast  lawyer), 
can  get  a  hearing  for  any  person  they  think  has  been  wronged.  But 
clearly  Matusow's  testimony  threw  the  balance  out  of  kilter.  It 
might  have  to  be  defended  with  the  previously  non-articulate  or 

Hence  Wren  did  what  he  might  have  instructed  any  client  to  do. 


For  one  thing,  he  got  together  a  batch  of  letters  certifying  his  fair- 
ness in  judging  blacklist  cases.  For  example,  he  solicited  an  actor, 
a  Red  Channels  listee,  for  a  letter  attesting  that  he  had  helped  the 
performer  exonerate  himself.  The  actor  was  then  barred  from  CBS- 
owned  shows,  but  BBD&O  had  used  him  on  General  Electric 
Theater.  This,  and  other  testimonial  letters  Wren  collected,  could 
be  used  as  defense  against  critical  charges  inspired  by  the  Matusow 
testimony.  In  addition  to  the  people  he  has  helped,  Wren  can  also 
send  interested  critics  around  to  one  or  another  of  his  acquaintances 
in  the  civil-liberties  field. 

It  is  an  axiom  of  the  times,  as  Fortune's  William  H.  Whyte,  Jr. 
put  it,  that  if  you  "control  communications,  you  control."  Jack 
Wren  evidently  has  put  in  a  good  deal  of  tune  trying  to  prove  the 
axiom  out.  He  (and  that  means  BBD&O)  has  more  information  to 
weigh  and  balance  in  making  judgments  on  casting  lists  than  any 
other  Madison  Avenue  "security  officer." 

Is  Wren  the  secret  ingredient  that  makes  BBD&O  so  prominent? 
Partly.  The  agency  itself  however  has  never  been  notably  shy 
about  tackling  problems  in  "consent  engineering."  Where  most 
other  agencies,  consistent  with  the  "non-controversy"  standard,  have 
steered  clear  of  politics,  BBD&O  has  jumped  right  in.  It  is  particu- 
larly well  known  for  its  role  in  "merchandising"  the  Eisenhower 
campaign  in  1952. 

Similarly,  rather  than  sit  loose  and  be  buffeted  around,  BBD&O 
has  taken  the  blacklisting  problem  for  what  it  is,  i.e.,  a  problem  in 
public  relations,  and  has  treated  it  accordingly.  For  unlike  most 
other  agencies,  BBD&O,  through  Wren,  taps  the  lines  of  communi- 
cations and  takes  part  in  "clearance"  procedures.  Wren,  in  short, 
will  see  "listed"  performers  and  hear  them  out.  Few  other  agencies 

Typical  of  more  general  practice  is  the  Big  Agency  (let  us  call 
it),  and  its  leading  authority,  a  legal  vice-president,  whom  we  will 


call  Harry  Law.  By  virtue  of  the  size  of  his  agency  and  his  own 
preoccupation  with  the  problem,  Law  is  equipped  to  give  the 
opinion  of  a  general  practitioner  who  has  diagnosed  a  disease  but, 
unlike  Wren,  does  not  quite  know  what  to  do  about  it. 

The  Big  Agency  will  not  own  up  to  keeping  a  "list."  If  called  on, 
though,  it  can  check  a  casting  list  inside  a  half  hour.  Whatever  it 
checks  against,  Law  says,  is  the  product  of  newspaper  clips  and 
"other  sources."  Law  is  concerned  only  with  over-all  policy,  not 
with  operating  details;  he  says  he  has  never  read  through  a  copy  of 
Counterattack.  Moreover,  "We  don't  use  outside  investigators." 

Harry  Law's  thesis  is  simple.  Clients  have  to  be  "good  citizens" 
as  well  as  businessmen.  Some  feel  it  worthwhile  to  consider  the 
validity  of  accusations  but  at  the  same  time  keep  in  mind  their 
responsibility  not  to  use  actual  Communists  on  their  programs.  For 
its  part,  the  agency,  as  the  "legal  agent"  of  the  client,  has  to  be  con- 
cerned with  "current  acceptability."  "Acceptability,"  Law  says,  has 
to  be  determined  by  ear,  by  intuition  based  on  what  the  client  thinks 
best  and  what  the  Big  Agency  thinks  is  best  for  the  client  and  for 
itself.  "We  would  not,"  Harry  Law  says,  "use  Paul  Robeson,  of 
course.  By  trying  to  avoid  using  the  Paul  Robesons  we  are  helping 
the  fellow  who  may  unjustly  be  accused." 

But  as  Harry  Law  asks:  "How  do  you  establish  'clearance'  for 
someone  unjustly  accused?"  Law  does  not  care  to  get  his  hands 
dirty  in  "clearance"  procedures;  the  Big  Agency  will  not  tell  the 
controversial  performer  why  he  is  not  being  used  nor  recite  the 
charges  against  him.  Nor  will  it  see  the  performer  under  any 
auspices  or  circumstances. 

"I'm  a  little  suspicious  of  some  of  these  operations,"  Law  says, 
"they're  as  close  to  blackmail  as  any  operation  I  know  that  isn't." 
Yet,  once  a  performer  is  accused,  he  is  dangerously  "controversial" 
and  the  agency  has  to  think  twice  before  using  him. 

Here  in  Mr.  Law,  then,  is  an  unresolved  problem.  Wren,  on  the 
other  hand,  has  taken  blacklisting  about  as  far  toward  the  end  of 


the  line  as  he  can  go.  By  seeing  "listed"  performers,  by  trying 
actively  to  "engineer  consent"  rather  than  to  accept  public  opinion, 
so  to  speak,  Wren  has  created  a  unique  niche  for  himself  —  and  this 
goes  a  long  way  toward  explaining  why  he  is  considered  a  power  on 
Madison  Avenue. 

On  the  surface,  it  would  appear  that  any  procedure,  even 
Wren's,  would  be  better  than  no  procedure  at  all.  BBD&O  is  a 
powerful  agency.  It  can  afford  to  take  criticism;  in  fact,  it  has  to. 
It  has  more  clients,  more  publics  and,  in  general,  more  interests 
to  balance.  Moreover,  BBD&O  can  put  performers  on  shows  spon- 
sored by  a  couple  of  institutional  clients  which,  compared  to,  say, 
one  of  its  tobacco  or  food  company  clients  are  not  offended  by 
small  critical  slights. 

Unfortunately  for  the  performer  though,  it  doesn't  work  out 
that  way.  Wren  cannot  judge  how  valid  the  accusations  against  a 
performer  are;  that  is  immaterial  anyway.  For  Wren's  efficiency, 
understandably,  is  not  meant  to  promote  justice,  except  as  it  makes 
good  public  relations. 

Hence,  it  may  be  supposed,  Wren's  "clearances"  —  so  far  as  the 
word  has  any  meaning  —  are  few.  For  Wren  does  not  control  com- 
munications, he  merely  has  himself  a  better  listening  post.  The 
"wrongly  accused"  in  his  context  are  the  same  as  they  are  in  the 
Big  Agency's,  i.e.  the  person  who  is  "defensible."  Standards  vary 
from  personality  to  personality,  from  client  to  client.  They  depend 
on  the  times,  the  current  intensity  of  public  feeling  over  the  Com- 
munist issue,  etc. 

The  statutes  for  the  little  courthouse  on  Madison  Avenue  are  the 
words  and  deeds  of  several  state  and  federal  legislatures,  the  At- 
torney General's  department,  and  some  supplementary  laws  that 
show  up  from  time  to  time  on  the  baby  blue  stationery  of  AWARE, 
Inc.  The  bills  of  particulars  come  in  various  shapes  and  sizes: 
under  the  logotype  of  Counterattack  or  Firing  Line,  magazines  like 
the  American  Mercury,  the  neatly  mimeographed  pages  of  Vincent 


Hartnett's  File  13,  the  AWARE,  Inc.  bulletins  and  its  nondescript 
Who's  Where. 

Pleaders  to  the  bar  are  few.  For  the  most  part  they  comprise  rep- 
resentatives of  institutional  pleaders  like  the  Anti-Defamation 
League  and  American  Civil  Liberties  Union.  Without  auspices  like 
these,  or  those  of  Martin  Gang,  the  performer  has  not  much  chance 
of  being  heard  anywhere. 

Wren  is  not  a  judge  in  any  usual  sense.  He  knows  that  once  the 
defendant  is  accused,  the  accusation  itself  becomes  an  additional 
factor  in  judging  his  competence  as  a  performer  —  which  on  tele- 
vision means  a  salesman.  The  defendant  (or  "victim"  as  he  is 
known  in  these  circles)  may  lose  jobs  or,  if  he  chooses  to  do  his 
penance  with  enough  enthusiasm,  may  actually  get  more  work  than 
he  ever  had  before.  By  and  large,  though,  if  he  appears  before  the 
tribunal,  he  can  expect  not  much  more  than  "gradual  re-employ- 
ment." He  may  never  be  entirely  successful,  but  the  difference  in 
being  "blacklisted,"  "greylisted,"  "bluelisted"  or  "whitelisted"  is 
considerable.  * 

*  These  are  not  to  be  taken  as  literal  lists.  Those  who  are  totally  "unemployable" 
(comparatively  few)  are,  in  this  context,  "blacklisted."  Those  who  can  work  for 
one  sponsor  but  not  others,  on  radio  but  not  television,  at  one  network  but  not 
another,  are  "greylisted."  "Bluelisting"  derives  its  name  from  the  color  of 
AWARE,  Inc.'s  stationery.  The  "whitelisted"  are  of  course  eminently  "employ- 
able." Within  the  industry  and  in  the  press  all  degrees  of  "unemployability"  are 
generally  described  as  "blacklisting." 


"Clearance"  at  CBS 

THE  AUGUST  1,  1955  EDITION  of  The  New  York  Times  carried  the 
news  that  Daniel  T.  O'Shea,  a  vice-president  of  the  Columbia 
Broadcasting  System,  had  been  named  president  of  RKO  Radio 
Pictures,  Inc.  The  Times  reporter  covering  O'Shea's  career  at 
CBS  was  hard  put  to  describe  his  exact  job  at  the  network.  Mr. 
O'Shea,  the  Times  said,  "served  as  a  corporate  vice-president  and 
general  executive  in  a  consultative  and  advisory  capacity  to  all 
[CBS]  divisions."  To  speak  more  plainly,  Mr.  O'Shea  had  served 
as  chief  "security  officer"  at  the  network  between  1950  and  '55. 
In  the  rive  years  he  was  with  CBS,  O'Shea  and  another,  lesser  offi- 
cial, a  former  FBI  agent  named  Alfred  Berry,  became  to  the  radio-tv 
industry  what  Jack  Wren  is  to  advertising  agencies. 

Ironically,  the  role  O'Shea  and  Berry  played,  at  least  in  part,  was 
an  unforeseen  byproduct  of  the  very  policies  which  have  enabled 
CBS  to  keep  up  with,  and  in  some  respects  overtake,  its  chief  rival, 
the  National  Broadcasting  Company.  As  Fortune  magazine  once 
told  it,  when  in  1945  William  S.  Paley,  chairman  and  principal 
owner  of  CBS,  returned  from  military  service,  he  formulated  his 
strategy  for  a  forthcoming  battle  with  NBC. 

"He  had  made  two  major  decisions.  The  first  was  to  concentrate 
on  'creative  programming'  .  .  .  Instead  of  being  merely  a  pipeline 
for  the  programs  of  others,  CBS  would  become  a  programming 
organization,  originating  and  putting  on  its  own  shows  .  .  .  Deci- 
sion No.  2  was  to  seize  leadership  in  radio  by  getting  control  of  the 


The  self -programming  policy  carried  over  into  television.  So  did 
the  talent  policy,  only  not  in  the  form  of  Paley's  celebrated  postwar 
radio  talent  raids.  "While  NBC  drew  on  the  great  resources  of 
RCA  to  gain  its  position  in  broadcasting,  CBS,  having  less  re- 
sources and  having  spent  heavily  to  gain  its  position  in  radio,  was 
forced  to  counter  in  TV  with  the  strategy  of  low-cost  programming. 
It  worked  hard  to  build  a  'creative  organization'  that  would  substi- 
tute cleverness  and  imagination  for  dollars.  The  most  notable 
example  of  CBS  adroitness  in  this  respect  is  'I  Love  Lucy,'  the  hit 
that  cost  only  $38,000  to  produce." 

The  policy  worked.  But,  when  the  need  to  apply  the  "contro- 
versy" standard  in  hiring  arose,  it  also  caused  a  major  headache. 
First,  in  packaging  more  shows  of  its  own,  CBS  has  to  take  more 
responsibility  for  "clearing"  material  and  talent.  As  the  dispenser 
as  well  as  creator  of  radio-tv  shows,  the  network  is  more  vulnerable 
to  direct  public  criticism  than  an  advertising  agency. 

Second,  CBS,  in  foraging  for  all  the  "creative  imagination"  it 
could  lay  its  hands  on,  neglected,  or  could  not  afford  to  inquire 
into,  personal  politics.  Hence,  as  one  executive  put  it:  "We  un- 
knowingly hired  a  lot  of  questionable  people." 

When  Red  Channels  appeared,  CBS  met  the  blacklisting  prob- 
lem by  seeking  to  gain  a  solid  reputation  for  patriotism  with  those 
who  were  counted  as  "anti-Communist  experts,"  while  at  the  same 
time  it  maintained  its  public  reputation  for  "creative  imagination" 
via  the  network's  news  division.  The  network  set  up  a  department 
to  administer  internal  security  but  exempted  its  news  division  from 
the  stern  "security"  provisions  operating  in  other  departments. 

The  security  problem  was  at  first  given  to  Joseph  Ream,  a  CBS 
executive,  and  Berry.  Ream  instituted  a  loyalty  oath  for  all  who 
were  employed  by  CBS  to  sign  under  pain  of  losing  their  jobs.  The 
oath  remains  the  only  one  of  its  kind  ever  used  in  the  industry.  It 
required  that  the  employee  certify  he  had  not  belonged  to  any  of 
the  organizations  listed  as  subversive  by  the  Attorney  General,  or 


if  he  had,  that  he  provide  a  convincing  "explanation"  his  member- 
ship was  not  meaningful.  The  oath  was  kept  sealed  and  confiden- 
tial in  CBS  files. 

The  loyalty  oath  program  however  proved  to  be  not  quite 
enough.  There  may  even  be  some  dispute  as  to  whether  it  ever 
amounted  to  more  than  a  dubious  public-relations  gimmick.  The 
first  case  in  which  it  was  questioned  involved  a  producer-director 
named  Danny  Dare.  Dare  was  among  those  named  by  Martin 
Berkeley,  Hollywood  screenwriter,  as  Communists  or  one-time 
Communists,  before  the  House  Committee  on  Un-American  Activi- 
ties. Like  Berkeley  himself,  Dare  denied  the  charge.  He  went  to 
Washington,  testified  that  he  had  not  been  a  Communist  and  was 
kept  on  the  employment  rolls  of  CBS.  Later,  he  asked  for  another 
hearing,  stating  that  his  first  testimony  was  not  truthful.  At  this 
second  hearing,  Dare  told  the  Committee  that  after  the  people 
Berkeley  named  were  listed  in  the  newspapers  "I  became  panicky 
.  .  .  realizing  that  if  I  said  'Yes,  that  is  true,'  I  would  immediately 
lose  my  job  ..." 

Similarly,  Allan  Sloane,  a  CBS  writer  who  had  signed  the 
loyalty  oath,  later  testified  that  he  had  been  for  a  short  time  a 
member  of  the  Communist  Party  but  withheld  this  fact  from  the  net- 
work. Neither  of  these  experiences  sat  well  with  network  officials. 

When  Ream,  an  executive  of  long  standing  in  the  industry,  re- 
tired to  Florida,  his  place  was  taken  by  Daniel  T.  O'Shea.  A  gradu- 
ate of  Holy  Cross  College  and  Harvard  Law  School,  O'Shea  had 
served  as  chief  counsel  for  RKO  Radio  Pictures,  Inc.,  had  been 
vice-president  of  the  Selznick  International  Pictures  Company,  and 
was  leading  executive  at  Vanguard  Films  in  Hollywood  before 
joining  CBS  in  1950. 

Under  O'Shea,  CBS  developed  a  vigorous  screening  policy.  Like 
BBD&O,  the  network  seized  on  the  realities  of  the  moment  and 
made  the  best  of  them.  O'Shea  and  his  assistant,  Berry,  even  more 


than  Jack  Wren,  made  themselves  available  to  anyone  who  wanted 
to  see  them.  Ordinarily,  they  did  not  seek  out  the  blacklisted,  but 
any  writer,  director  or  actor  who  believed  he  was  "not  available"  for 
CBS  shows  and  felt  he  had  a  case  could  go  to  them  and  get  a  hear- 
ing. This  policy  has  been  the  object  of  widespread  criticism  in 
radio-tv  circles.  "Clearance"  at  CBS  was  from  the  beginning  overt 
and  frank;  hence  O'Shea  was  an  easy  and  obvious  target  for  those 
in  the  industry  who  despised  blacklisting.  CBS  and  blacklisting 
have  become  almost  synonymous.  Sooner  or  later  everyone  hears 
that  CBS  is  the  place  to  go  to  "get  rid  of  a  problem."  But  it  is  not 
quite  that  easy. 

Like  Wren,  O'Shea  and  Berry  saw  to  it  that  they  had  adequate 
information  on  hand  and  kept  up  their  contacts  with  the  "anti- 
Communist  experts."  Berry  took  care  of  day-to-day  details.  O'Shea 
set  the  over-all  policy  for  the  network  and  concerned  himself  only 
with  difficult  or  especially  prominent  cases,  like  that  of  Lucille  Ball.* 

Like  Wren,  O'Shea  and  Berry  were  most  concerned  over  whether 
or  not  they  had  a  full  accounting  on  which  to  base  their  judgment. 
The  purpose  of  the  interviews  was,  first,  to  elicit  as  much  informa- 
tion as  possible  from  the  artist  "in  trouble,"  and,  second,  to  de- 
termine how  full  an  accounting  the  artist  was  giving  of  his  own  past 
activities.  The  "security  officers"  checked  what  they  knew  about 
the  artist  against  what  he  volunteered  to  tell  them  about  himself. 
That  way  they  could  judge  whether  he  was  holding  back.  If  he  was, 
his  sincerity  was  open  to  question.  If  the  artist  did  not  make  a  clean 

*  In  1953  Miss  Ball,  the  top  television  star  of  the  nation,  suddenly  became  highly 
controversial  when  newspapers  all  over  the  country  carried  stories  that  in  the 
mid-Thirties,  Communist  meetings  had  been  held  at  her  home,  that  she  had  signed 
CP  nominating  petitions  and  had  been  listed  as  a  member  of  the  Communist 
Party's  Central  Committee  of  California.  Miss  Ball  appeared  before  the  House 
Un-American  Activities  Committee,  told  them  of  an  eccentric  grandfather  and 
satisfied  the  Committee  that,  as  her  husband  put  it,  "There's  nothing  red  about 
Lucy  but  her  hair  and  even  that's  not  real."  The  public  too  was  satisfied  and  the 
"I  Love  Lucy"  show  continued  to  appear  on  CBS. 


breast  of  all  the  information  they  already  had,  he  was  dismissed  with 
"It's  been  nice  talking  to  you." 

If  he  did  come  up  with  everything  known  and  then  some,  indi- 
cating sincerity,  O'Shea  or  Berry  took  on  the  case.  The  first  thing 
that  had  to  be  decided  was  whether  he  was  "defensible."  He  was 
"defensible"  if  there  was  enough  positive  "anti-communism"  in 
his  record  to  overshadow  the  charges  made  against  him.  In  that 
case  he  would  be  "cleared."  But  even  if  there  weren't  enough  to 
make  him  "defensible,"  the  artist,  after  he  finished  the  interview, 
would  have  some  idea  of  where  he  stood  and  what  he  could  do 
about  getting  out  of  "trouble."  Here  is  where  a  good  anti-Commu- 
nist sponsor  took  over.  The  artist  not  yet  "defensible"  needed  ad- 
vice on  what  kind  of  "anti-Communist"  acts  would  count  with 
the  people  who  counted. 

The  standards  set  for  CBS  "clearance"  procedures  are  neces- 
sarily hard  to  fix.  They  depend  largely  on  how  the  networks' 
"security  officers"  read  the  intentions  and  opinions  of  the  accusers, 
be  it  the  American  Legion  or  AWARE,  Inc.  There  are  fluctuations 
from  show  to  show,  from  client  to  client,  and  from  one  day's  inter- 
national news  to  the  next.  "Omnibus,"  which  does  most  of  its  own 
casting,  is  exempt  except  where,  in  the  word  of  one  executive, 
something  "outlandish"  is  planned.  So  are  most  public-service 

Yet  CBS  can't  have  it  both  ways.  An  example  was  provided 
when  Winston  Burdett,  a  CBS  newscaster,  appeared  before  the 
Senate  Internal  Subcommittee  in  the  summer  of  1955.  Burdett  tes- 
tified that  in  the  late  Thirties  he  had  belonged  to  the  Brooklyn 
Eagle  unit  of  the  Communist  Party,  had  gone  to  Finland  on  the 
Party's  money  and  the  Eagle's  credentials,  to  do  espionage  work 
there.  Burdett  went  on  to  name  a  number  of  his  associates  in  the 
Party,  some  of  whom  were  working  newspapermen. 

Then,  with  astoundingly  precise  timing,  news  broadcasts  and 
newspapers  announced  that  Senator  Eastland,  the  Committee's 


chairman,  had  written  a  letter  to  CBS  asking  that  the  network  keep 
Burdett.  The  letter,  which  was  addressed  to  O'Shea,  plus  a  CBS 
policy  statement,  followed  hard  upon  Burdett's  testimony.  On  the 
face  of  it,  both  appeared  to  have  been  well-timed  and  well-coordi- 
nated with  Burdett's  appearance  in  Washington.  The  coincidence 
was  striking  enough  to  arouse  public  speculation  as  to  how  much 
rehearsing  preceded  the  performance. 

Still,  not  everyone  was  satisfied.  The  night  the  story  broke,  news 
commentator  Quincy  Howe  on  another  network  announced  that 
Burdett  had  made  his  information  available  in  a  private  hearing 
four  years  earlier.  Howe  saw  no  reason  why  Burdett's  story  should 
have  been  made  public  at  such  a  late  date.  It  was  a  lucky  thing, 
he  said,  that  Burdett  could  work  on  sustaining  shows  since  no  spon- 
sor would  hire  him.  But  over  on  a  third  network,  Fulton  Lewis,  Jr. 
only  fifteen  minutes  earlier  said  the  testimony  had  raised  a  lot  of 
questions,  one  of  which  was  why  Senator  Eastland  felt  obliged  to 
write  CBS  on  Burdett's  behalf.  Was  there  any  reason  to  believe, 
Lewis  asked,  that  CBS  might  have  considered  firing  Burdett  for  his 
patriotic  act  in  testifying? 

Yet,  CBS  keeps  trying  to  eat  its  own  cake.  Edward  R.  Murrow, 
who  is  considered  beyond  the  pale  in  the  anti-Communist  power 
centers,  goes  on  his  way.  Murrow's  McCarthy  broadcast  caused  a 
great  deal  of  criticism  (some  of  it  merely  professional).  O'Shea  is 
reliably  reported  to  have  disputed  Murrow's  use  of  J.  Robert 
Oppenheimer  on  the  celebrated  "See  It  Now"  program  which  kept 
the  "radical-right"  pot  boiling  for  months.  These  instances  alone 
would  have  been  enough  to  upset  most  conscientious  public-rela- 
tions men.  But  CBS  —  villain  to  those  who  reject  blacklisting  — 
can  always  point  to  its  Ed  Murrow  when  the  criticism  gets  too  hot. 
When  criticisms  of  Murrow  start  to  mount,  the  network  can  point 
with  pride  to  the  tight  shop  its  "security  officers"  run. 

It  is  no  secret  that  Murrow  is  something  less  than  enthusiastic 
about  his  network's  "screening"  policies.  By  the  same  token, 


O'Shea  was  utterly  convinced  that  there  is  at  least  some  intrinsic 
worth  in  what  the  network's  "security  officers"  do.  Some  distraught 
radio-tv  people  left  O'Shea's  office  feeling  less  vindictive  towards 
him  than  they  were  before  they  went  in.  One  went  so  far  as  to 
characterize  him  as  being  "emotional"  about  the  problem.  All 
seemed  to  agree  that  O'Shea  was,  if  nothing  else,  candid.  He  be- 
lieved in  blacklisting  (though  undoubtedly  the  word  offended  him), 
and  he  tried  to  practice  it  as  judiciously  as  possible. 

More  likely  than  not,  the  performer  "cleared"  at  CBS  had  sought 
help.  His  agent  may  have  told  him  he  was  "in  trouble"  or  he  may 
have  found  out  directly  through  a  friend  in  the  network  that  he  had 
to  be  cleared  before  CBS  would  hire  him.  In  any  event,  his  chances 
for  "clearance"  were  enhanced  considerably  if  he  came  under 
auspices  of  an  acceptable  "clearance  man."  If  he  could  come  bear- 
ing credentials,  or  implicit  agreement,  from  AWARE,  Inc.,  Counter- 
attack, the  American  Legion,  or  George  Sokolsky,  so  much  the 

The  best  way  for  the  accused  to  go  about  getting  "clearance" 
was,  and  still  is,  first  to  find  someone  who  knows  his  way  around. 
In  the  process  the  "victim"  will  almost  certainly  have  to  render  an 
explanation  of  his  past  activities,  often  in  the  form  of  an  affidavit. 
He  should  also  divulge  whatever  information  he  has,  whether  or  not 
he  believes  it  useful,  to  the  FBI.  Depending  on  his  record  and 
auspices,  he  may  have  to  certify  his  earnestness  by  other  acts.  Sup- 
port of  an  AwARE-endorsed  position  in  his  union,  plus,  say,  signing 
a  petition  against  admission  of  Red  China  to  the  U.N.,  might  turn 
the  trick.  The  important  thing  is  to  "clear"  himself  as  much  as  pos- 
sible before  seeing  the  network's  "security  officers." 


Aware,  Inc. 

IN  THE  SPRING  OF  1955  the  NBC  network,  wanting  to  clear  a 
prominent  performer  for  a  top  dramatic  show,  asked  the  actor  to 
get  two  letters  of  endorsement,  one  from  an  officer  of  the  Anti- 
Defamation  League,  the  other  from  Godfrey  P.  Schmidt,  President 
of  AWARE,  Inc.  The  network's  request  was  recognition  of  the  grow- 
ing importance  of  AWARE,  Inc.,  "an  organization  to  combat  the 
Communist  conspiracy  in  entertainment-communications." 

At  one  time  the  letter  from  the  Anti-Defamation  League  official 
might  have  turned  the  trick,  but  in  this  case  it  took  two  endorse- 
ments. And  of  the  two  (as  the  actor  found  out),  AWARE'S  was 
harder  to  get.  For  it  is  A  WARE'S  position  that  a  performer  wanting 
to  clear  himself  should  not  only  prove  he  is  not  a  Communist,  or 
Communist  sympathizer,  but  give  ample  evidence  that  he  is  "ac- 
tively" anti-Communist  —  or,  in  A  WARE'S  own  words,  that  he  does 
not  support  "dangerous  neutralism." 

"No  one  can  be  neutral  before  the  Communist  challenge  and 
peril,"  AWARE  stated  in  one  of  its  publications.  "Its  threat  to  our 
civilization  demands  that  people  stand  up  and  be  counted."  Many 
radio-tv  people  feel  strongly  about  AWARE  because  it  is  their  general 
impression  that  those  who  wish  to  establish  anti-Communist  creden- 
tials must  "stand  up  and  be  counted"  on  AWARE'S  side  on  any  given 
trade-union  issue.  Certainly  one  who  opposes  blacklisting,  for 
instance,  would  not  be  considered  truly  "anti-Communist"  by 
AWARE.  But  it  was  largely  because  the  organization  supports 
blacklisting  that  members  of  the  American  Federation  of  Television 


and  Radio  Artists  voted  almost  2  to  1  in  the  summer  of  1955  to 
"condemn"  it  — 982  in  favor  of  the  condemnation,  514  opposed. 
In  the  New  York  Times  for  July  11,  1955,  Jack  Gould,  radio-tv 
columnist,  summed  up  the  meaning  of  AFTRA's  vote  condemning 
AWARE,  Inc.: 

The  vote  represented  the  first  time  that  the  union's  administrative 
forces,  which  embrace  a  number  of  AWARE  members,  went  down  to 
defeat  in  a  mail  referendum.  The  majority  against  AWARE  would 
not  have  been  possible  without  the  votes  of  many  conservative  federa- 
tion members  who  in  the  past  have  opposed  the  union's  so-called  left- 
wing  faction.  Prior  to  the  referendum,  an  official  of  both  AWARE 
and  the  federation  had  estimated  that  the  vote  against  AWARE  would 
total  only  perhaps  three  or  four  hundred. 

Both  the  size  and  source  of  the  anti-AWARE  vote  give  a  hollow 
ring  to  the  insistence  of  the  AWARE  supporters  that  the  vote  puts  the 
union  in  the  embarrassing  position  of  not  being  against  Communists. 
Quite  the  contrary,  it  was  just  such  thinking  —  accept  our  way  of  being 
anti-Communist  or  run  the  risk  of  being  branded  pro-Communist  — 
that  undoubtedly  accounted  in  large  measure  for  the  condemnation  of 

A  few  weeks  before  the  referendum  was  taken,  Godfrey  P. 
Schmidt  had  been  quoted  in  the  Times.  "With  the  best  of  good  will 
we're  going  to  make  mistakes,"  Schmidt  said  of  AWARE,  "But  we 
cannot  let  fear  of  making  mistakes  freeze  us  into  timid  inactivity." 
In  Gould's  opinion,  Schmidt's  admission  that  to  catch  some  Com- 
munists might  mean  the  victimizing  of  innocent  performers,  was 
"the  best  possible  argument  for  not  leaving  the  anti-Communist 
problem  in  amateur  hands"  and  helped  swing  the  AFTRA  vote 
away  from  AWARE.  Gould  was  convinced  that  Vincent  Hartnett's 
presence  on  AWARE'S  board  of  directors  also  aroused  resistance  to 
the  organization  among  radio-tv  performers. 

"Who  promoted  Peress?"  This  is  how  one  of  the  speakers  at  a 
meeting  welcoming  the  House  Committee  on  Un-American  Activi- 
ties to  New  York  in  the  summer  of  1955,  began  his  talk.  The  meet- 


ing,  sponsored  by  The  Alliance,  a  coalition  of  right-wing  patriotic 
societies,  was  endorsed  by  leading  figures  in  AWARE,  Inc.,  including 
the  organization's  President.  The  tie-in  between  the  pro-blacklisting 
faction  in  the  radio-tv  industry  and  the  "radical  right"  is  hardly  a 
secret.  AWARE,  Inc.  is  no  exception. 

In  February,  1955,  AWARE  sponsored  a  forum  for  young  peo- 
ple. Among  the  speakers  were  the  Chairman  of  the  Conservative 
Society,  Yale  Law  School,  a  member  of  the  Harvard  Conservative 
League,  and  a  Queens  College  representative  of  the  Intercollegiate 
Society  of  Individualists.  At  the  meeting  one  speaker  urged  a 
revival  of  the  America  First  movement.  Other  speakers  endorsed 
the  Bricker  Amendment.  Robert  Amoury  of  the  New  York  Uni- 
versity Law  School  expressed  dissatisfaction  with  President  Eisen- 
hower's administration.  Voters  who  "saw  in  Eisenhower  a  Lochin- 
var"  were  disenchanted,  Amoury  said.  "They  identified  him  with 
the  Taft,  McCarthy,  MacArthur,  McCarran  concept  of  government, 
a  concept  which  places  country  above  party  or  personality."  But 
what  has  happened  to  their  hopes?  "They  have  turned  into  the 
ashes  of  despair." 

The  AWARE  meeting,  in  short,  was  frankly  partisan  and  frankly 
right-wing.  It  is  understandable  that  a  large  percentage  of  the 
AFTRA  membership  is  loath  to  accept  Aw  ARE'S  standards  for 
"sincere  and  active  anti-communism."  To  many  anti-Communists 
in  the  industry,  AWARE  is  barely  differentiated  from  other  right- 
wing  political  groups  (even  though  from  time  to  time  it  speaks  as 
if  its  patriotic  interests  transcend  partisan  issues)  and  they  want 
no  part  of  it.  "If  they  want  to  support  McCarthy  and  his  crowd, 
that's  then:  business,"  said  one  actor,  "but  why  should  my  patrio- 
tism be  questioned  because  I  disagree  with  them?" 

What  does  distinguish  AWARE  from  other  right-wing  organiza- 
tions is  the  relentlessness  with  which  it  carries  its  "conspiracy" 
thesis  to  practical  conclusions,  and  its  success  in  being  accepted  on 
Madison  Avenue  as  representing  the  "anti-Communists." 


Godfrey  P.  Schmidt,  the  guiding  spirit  of  AWARE,  first  came  to 
public  attention  when  he  served  as  legal  counsel  for  Cardinal  Spell- 
man  during  the  famous  cemetery  strike  of  1949.  Schmidt,  a  Ford- 
ham  law  professor,  is  well  known  in  Catholic  circles  and  has  gained 
something  of  a  reputation  as  a  Thomist  logician.  For  a  time  he  told 
children's  stories  on  radio.  This  work  qualified  him  for  membership 
in  AFTRA.  Schmidt  has  often  appeared  on  New  York  television 
panels,  at  times  as  a  supporter  of  Senator  McCarthy,  always  as  a 
right-wing  conservative  battling  with  "liberal"  spokesmen. 

AWARE,  under  Schmidt's  leadership,  has  generalized  its  own 
experience  in  the  radio-tv  industry  into  a  program  for  all  of  Ameri- 
can life.  The  basic  principle  of  the  program  is  the  extension  of 
loyalty  and  security  screening  to  all  employment.  In  an  AWARE 
Bulletin  entitled  "Recommendations  for  Stockholder  and  Manage- 
ment Action  to  Establish  Anti-Subversive  Policies  in  Corporations" 
this  basic  statement  is  made:  "Governmental  security  regulations 
covering  so-called  'defense  facilities'  (plants  or  parts  of  plants  ex- 
ecuting defense  contracts),  are  limited  and  do  not  protect  the  rest 
of  industry  from  subversive  penetration."  The  Bulletin  goes  on  to 
outline  a  method  for  bringing  all  corporate  employment  under 
loyalty  screening.  A  sample  stockholders'  resolution  is  given: 

.  .  .  The  Directors  of  the  Corporation  ...  are  directed  to  refrain 
.  .  .  from  employing  and  .  .  .  continuing  in  employment,  any  person 
who  is  found  to  have  been  a  member  at  any  time  of  the  Communist 
Party  or  of  any  group,  organization  or  combination  of  persons  cited 
as  subversive  by  the  Attorney  General  of  the  United  States,  the  Com- 
mittee on  Un-American  Activities  of  the  House  of  Representatives  or 
the  Subversive  Activities  Control  Board,  unless  such  person  shall  have 
repudiated  such  membership  under  oath;  or  any  person  who  has 
refused  to  answer  questions  about  his  or  her  purported  subversive 
associations  or  activities,  before  any  court,  legislative  committee  or 
other  properly  constituted  governmental  authority. 

A  prominent  member  of  A  WARE'S  board  of  directors  carried  this 
point  to  its  logical  conclusion  in  an  interview.  Should  a  Commu- 


nist,  he  was  asked,  be  allowed  to  wrap  packages  in  a  supermarket? 
No.  It  was  then  pointed  out  that  J.  Edgar  Hoover  had  estimated 
Communist  Party  membership  at  25,000,  with  ten  fellow  travelers 
for  every  Party  member  —  a  total  of  275,000  people  who  would, 
on  the  face  of  it,  be  denied  all  employment.  And  this  num- 
ber of  course  would  increase  when  past  associations  were  taken 
into  consideration.  The  AWARE  board  member  was  asked:  "What 
are  you  going  to  do  with  these  people  —  starve  them  into  submis- 
sion?" This,  he  agreeed,  posed  a  problem  —  but  nevertheless,  the 
principle  must  be  maintained. 

In  practice,  AWARE,  though  it  urges  universal  political  screening, 
has  confined  its  efforts  to  the  radio  and  television  field.  With 
blacklisting  firmly  established  on  Madison  Avenue,  A  WARE'S  main 
function  has  been  to  uphold  it  and  call  for  its  extension.  In  the  case 
of  the  entertainment  industry,  the  size  of  the  salaries  involved  is 
added  to  AWARE'S  general  arguments  for  denying  employment  to 

AWARE  has  not  published  any  public  "lists,"  but  its  bulletins 
have  cited  the  past  political  associations  of  radio-tv  workers, 
a  la  Red  Channels.  These  bulletins  are  treated  with  the  utmost 
seriousness  by  some  of  the  "security  officers"  on  Madison  Avenue. 
But  "exposure"  is  not  among  AWARE'S  chief  purposes.  The  organi- 
zation, rather,  has  functioned  as  a  pressure  group  within  the  in- 
dustry. As  individuals,  however,  certain  prominent  AWARE  mem- 
bers have  been  deeply  involved  in  the  blacklisting  machinery.  The 
organization's  prestige  is  an  element  in  establishing  their  creden- 
tials as  anti-Communist  "experts."  For  instance,  the  actor  NBC 
was  trying  to  clear,  did  get  a  letter  from  Godfrey  Schmidt  and  was 
given  a  lead  on  a  dramatic  show.  When  it  was  announced  that  he 
would  appear  a  week  later  there  were  immediate  protests.  To  the 
embarrassment  of  the  network,  Schmidt  said  he  did  not  intend  his 
letter,  written  in  Christian  charity,  to  serve  as  "clearance"  and 
pointed  out  he  wrote  it  as  an  individual,  not  as  president  of  AWARE, 


Inc.  But  the  interesting  fact  was  the  enormous  prestige  which 
Schmidt  could  bring  to  bear  "as  an  individual."  Armed  with  his 
letter,  the  network  felt  safe  in  lifting  its  ban  against  the  actor. 

In  its  support  of  political  screening,  AWARE  operates  according 
to  this  logic:  Communism  is  a  conspiracy;  therefore  Communists 
and  all  those  who  collaborate  with  them,  knowingly  or  not,  are 
conspirators.  A  "pattern"  of  Communistic  associations  is  a  pattern 
of  conspiracy.  So  not  to  support  political  screening  is  to  support 
political  conspiracy.  Those  who  oppose  blacklisting,  whether  they 
know  it  or  not,  are  supporters  of  the  Communist  conspiracy. 

AWARE  states  frequently  that  as  an  organization  it  does  not 
blacklist.  This  is  true.  The  organization  has  about  the  same  rela- 
tionship to  institutionalized  blacklisting  as  a  front  group  has  to  the 
Communist  Party:  it  lends  position,  prestige  and  power  to  the 

But  AWARE  goes  further  than  that.  AWARE  has  formalized 
"clearance."  It  has  published  a  guide  on  the  subject  called  The 
Road  Back  (subtitled  Self-clearance) .  The  Road  Back  asks:  "How 
many  Communists  —  and  those  who  helped  them  or  permitted 
themselves  to  be  put  in  the  light  of  helping  communism  —  manifest 
a  change  of  heart  and  mind,  perform  deeds  indicative  of  this  change 
and  thus  clear  themselves  of  suspicion  and  return  to  normal  em- 
ployability?"  It  goes  on  then  to  discuss  how  the  truly  repentant 
can  be  recognized. 

The  first  problem  of  "rehabilitation"  is  "who  shall  judge  these 
transitions?"  AWARE  feels  that  the  judgment  should  not  "rest  in 
any  official  investigating  committee  or  in  some  private  group."  The 
principle  of  "individual  responsibility  for  individual  acts"  is  to  be 
determined  by  "that  part  of  public  opinion  concerned."  In  the  rest 
of  the  pamphlet,  however,  it  is  made  clear  that  AWARE  regards  it- 
self as  a  tremendously  important,  if  not  decisive,  "part  of  the  public 
opinion  concerned"  in  the  case  of  the  radio-tv  industry. 


What  this  means  in  practice  is  that  a  person  wishing  to  be  cleared 
must  work  through  "anti-Communists"  of  AWARE'S  persuasion. 
The  Road  Back  notes:  "A  subject's  fellow  citizens  are  not  apt  to  be 
impressed  if  he  insists  that  anti-communism  based  on  the  American 
constitutional  system  is  a  greater  menace  than  communism."  This 
would  seem  to  be  a  euphemism  warning  those  going  through  "self- 
clearance"  against  associating  with  "liberal"  anti-Communists  or 
taking  a  forthright  anti-AwARE  position  in  public. 

However,  AWARE  does  not  leave  the  "clearance"  problem  up  in 
the  air.  To  its  credit,  it  is  frank,  forthright  and  specific  about  how 
a  man  "in  trouble"  can  be  reinstated.  The  Road  Back  lists  12 
"suggested  steps"  in  the  process  of  "rehabilitation" : 

1.  Questions  to  ask  oneself :   Do  I  love  my  country?  Do  I  believe  my 
country  in  danger?    Can  I  do  anything  to  relieve  that  danger? 
Will  I  tell  the  full,  relevant  and  unflattering  truth? 

2.  Recognition  that,  whatever  the  subject's  intentions  at  the  time,  his 
name,  efforts,  money  or  other  support  gave  aid  and  comfort  to 
the  Communist  conspiracy. 

3.  Full  and  frank  disclosure,  in  written  form,  of  all  connections  past 
and  present  with  subversive  elements,  organizations,  causes  and 
individuals.    Attach  pertinent  literature,  correspondence,  record 
of  financial  contributions,  programs,  newspaper  clippings  or  other 
documentary  material.   Identify  those  who  drew  the  subject  into 
unfortunate  situations  and  actions;  identify  those  the  subject  in 
turn  involved.   (This  disclosure  may  be  used  publicly  or  privately, 
as  circumstances  indicate.) 

4.  Voluntary  and  cooperative  interview  with  the  Federal  Bureau  of 
Investigation  on  the  basis  of  the  foregoing  full  and  frank  dis- 
closure.   The  content  of  such  interviews  remains  inviolate  with 
the  FBI. 

5.  A  written  offer  to  cooperate,  as  a  witness  or  source  of  information 

a.  The  Committee  on  Un-American  Activities  of  the  House  of 
Representatives,  Room  225A,  Old  House  Office  Building, 
Washington  25,  D.C. 


b.  Subcommittee  on  Internal  Security  of  the  Senate  Judiciary 
Committee,  Senate  Office  Building,  Washington  25,  D.C. 

c.  Subversive  Activities  Control  Board,  Washington,  D.C. 

d.  Any  other  committee  in  Senate  or  House  properly  interested 
in  some  or  all  of  the  information  the  subject  may  have. 

e.  Any  other  security  agency  of  the  federal  government,  as  may 
be  appropriate. 

f .  Any  state  legislative  committee  or  executive  office  investigating 
subversive  activities. 

g.  Any  local  authorities  (police  departments,  grand  juries,  county 
and  federal-district  prosecutors  and  agencies)    interested  in 
local  subversive  activities. 

6.  In  the  subject's  union (s),  he  should  make  his  new  position  on 
communism  clearly  known  by  statements  in  meetings,  letters  or 
statements  in  union  publications,  etc.   Whatever  else  he  may  do, 
he  should  not  support  the  Communist  or  crypto-Communist  ele- 
ment on  any  issue,  no  matter  how  attractive  or  insignificant  it  may 
then  appear.    Other  union  issues  may  then  be  freely  debated 
without  subversive  interference. 

7.  The  subject  should  make  public  his  new  position  on  communism 
by  all  other  means  available:   statements  in  trade  publications, 
"Letters  to  the  Editor,"  personal  correspondence  to  all  who  might 
be  interested:  such  as  anti-Communist  journalists  and  organiza- 
tions, employers,  friends  and  fellow  professionals. 

8.  Outside  the  field  of  entertainment-communications  many  oppor- 
tunities for  establishing  a  new  position  are  available:  political, 
social  and  civic  clubs,  parent-teacher  organizations,  library  and 
school  committees,  religious  and  cultural  groups.    They  may  be 
urged  to  increase  the  number  of  anti-Communist  speakers,  books, 
lectures,  candidates,  etc. 

9.  Support  anti-Communist  persons,  groups  and  organizations. 

10.  The  subject  should  keep  himself  informed  by  subscribing  to  rec- 
ommended anti-Communist  magazines,  reading  anti-Communist 
books,  government  reports  and  other  literature. 

11.  The  subject  should  support  anti-Communist  legislation   having 
responsible  endorsement. 


12.  If  the  subject's  new  convictions  draw  him  to,  or  back  to,  religion, 
so  much  the  better;  he  achieves  the  best  of  all  reasons  for  opposing 
communism.  He  can  become  actively  anti-Communist  in  his 
church  or  other  religious  organizations.  In  church  groups,  as 
everywhere,  he  can  combat  neutralism  and  anti-anti-communism. 

As  The  Road  Back  indicates,  AWARE,  in  theory  and  practice,  is 
motivated  by  the  idea  that  there  are  only  two  sides  —  the  "pro- 
Communist"  side  and  the  pro-AwARE  side.  According  to  this  view, 
the  nearly  1,000  AFTRA  members  who  voted  to  condemn  AWARE 
are  at  best  "dupes"  of  the  Communist  Party.  George  Sokolsky,  an 
AWARE  fellow-traveler,  described  the  AFTRA  condemnation  as 
just  one  more  incident  in  a  "struggle  between  Communists  and  anti- 
Communists"  for  control  of  the  union  — and  that  is  also  how 
AWARE  saw  it. 

What  this  drastic  either/or  means  psychologically  to  the  actor 
or  writer  who  has  to  go  through  "self-clearance"  —  naming  the 
names  of  those  who  drew  him  into  "situations,"  for  instance  —  can 
only  be  imagined.  Yet  for  many,  unwillingness  to  submit  to  the  pro- 
cedure means  unemployment.  Actors  "in  trouble"  have  had  to 
accept  as  real  the  phantom  world  of  AWARE,  Inc.  —  a  world  con- 
ceived of  as  polarized  between  two  extremes;  on  the  one  hand  a 
tightly  knit  group  of  conspirators;  on  the  other  a  group  of  right- 
wing  anti-Communists  who  look  on  their  own  politics  as  the  only 
valid  form  of  anti-communism.  Because  of  this  drastic  either/or, 
all  who  have  not  joined  the  "anti-Communist"  side  remain,  in  one 
way  or  another,  suspect  to  AWARE. 

This  is  the  criticism  of  AWARE  which  has  made  it  such  a  highly 
controversial  organization  in  the  radio-tv  field.  It  is  a  criticism 
which  has  never  been  answered  convincingly,  though  few  organi- 
zations have  as  able  a  spokesman  as  AWARE  has  in  its  president, 
Godfrey  P.  Schmidt.  In  the  following  statement,  submitted  to  the 
author  of  this  report,  Mr.  Schmidt  expresses  A  WARE'S  view  on  the 
blacklisting  problem. 


In  The  Legislative  Way  of  Life,  T.  V.  Smith  makes  three  asser- 
tions which  differ  profoundly  from  the  principles  applied  by  AWARE, 
Inc.  in  its  fight  against  Communist  penetration  of  the  entertainment- 
communication  field.  Smith  declares  that:  (1)  "we  must  assume  that 
all  major  interests  in  a  given  society  are  equally  legitimate";  (2)  "we 
must  assume  that  representatives  of  the  legitimate  interests  are  equally 
honest";  and  (3)  that  "we  must  assume  .  .  .  that  ideals  (justice  for 
example)  cannot  be  invoked  to  settle  issues  that  involve  quarrels  as  to 
what  the  ideals  are  or  as  to  who  owns  them." 

In  AWARE  we  begin  with  a  more  realistic  principle,  which  has  been 
established  by  history,  by  philosophy  and  theology:  that  communism, 
in  theory  and  practice,  is  an  unmitigated  evil  and  those  who  spread 
or  aid  it  are  to  that  extent  hurting  all  of  us,  including  themselves.  If  a 
person  does  not  appreciate  this  truth,  he  will  scarcely  be  in  sympathy 
with  AWARE,  Inc.;  nor  with  constitutional  government,  nor  with  the 
ideals  of  patriotism,  justice  and  civic  amity  which  have  made  the 
United  States  of  America  a  great  nation. 

So  uniform  is  the  conviction  that  communism,  in  theory  and  prac- 
tice, affronts  essential  societal  decencies  and  degrades  the  human  person 
that  practically  everybody  except  fools  and  rogues  condemn  it  and 
criticize  those  who  aid  it. 

Now  recognition  of  the  grave  evil  inherent  in  communism  calls  for 
action  to  obliterate  or  to  limit  the  Communist  peril.  It  will  not  do 
simply  to  criticize  communism  by  use  of  generalities.  Patriotism, 
justice  and  respect  or  friendship  for  fellow  citizens  all  impose  a  duty 
to  act.  Everyone  who  gives  help  and  comfort  to  communism,  whether 
in  theory  or  practice,  is  contributing  to  the  Communist  world  con- 
spiracy and,  to  that  extent,  knowingly  or  unknowingly,  betraying  the 
country.  Charity  forbids  that  we  hate  anyone  or  that  we  be  actuated 
by  malice  with  respect  to  the  fools  or  rogues  who  thus  try  to  give  aid 
or  comfort  to  communism  in  one  way  or  another.  But  we  must  try,  in 
season  and  out  of  season,  to  save  them  from  themselves  and  to  save 
this  country  and  the  rest  of  the  world  from  the  catastrophe  of  the 
world  Communist  conspiracy.  The  first  requirement  in  this  connection 
is  that  we  recognize  and  know  our  enemy  and  those  who  do  his  bidding. 
Because  he  characteristically  hides  in  cowardly  fashion  behind  pretenses 
and  duplicity,  he  must  be  unmasked.  The  person  who  has  joined  a 
string  of  fronts  should  not  be  solaced  by  trade-union  sympathy  when 
this  fact  is  revealed.  Instead,  he  should  now  repudiate  the  fronts. 


Now  there  are  two  kinds  of  people,  generally  speaking,  who  are 
obviously  aiding  and  giving  comfort  to  the  Communist  world  move- 
ment: (a)  those  who  are  consciously  in  sympathy  with  communism 
or  with  some  of  its  major  objectives,  principles  or  methods;  and  (b) 
those  who,  through  flightiness  or  mere  stupidity,  have  joined  either  the 
Communist  Party  or  some  of  its  "transmission  belts." 

There  is  no  question  here  of  exposing  or  humiliating  a  person  who 
years  ago,  in  a  moment  of  ineptitude  or  immaturity,  has  joined  a  Com- 
munist front  organization  or  even  the  Communist  Party  —  but  who 
quickly  thereafter  came  to  his  senses  and  who,  in  the  intervening  years, 
has  never  applied  or  lived  up  to  the  infamous  Communist  premises. 
What  we  are  concerned  with  are  those  persons  who  have  long,  unrepu- 
diated  records  of  significant  affiliation  with  Communist  front  organiza- 
tions or  with  the  Communist  Party. 

AWARE  will  not  be  deflected  from  the  fight  against  the  Communist 
conspiracy  by  anguished  cries  of  "blacklisting"  from  the  very  people 
who,  as  adults,  have  joined  the  Communist  Party  or  have,  without 
protest,  permitted  their  names  to  be  associated  with  Communist  front 
organizations  over  a  period  of  years.  It  is  a  pitiful  spectacle  that 
persons  who  have  joined  such  organizations  time  and  again,  who  have 
never  repudiated  communism  in  any  of  its  forms  or  fronts,  should  now 
become  tender  about  being  recognized  in  those  affiliations  and  should 
bleat  "blacklisting!"  against  us  who  identify  their  affiliations  (as  if 
such  a  "blacklisting"  were  some  nefarious  activity) . 

The  word  "blacklisting"  requires  definition  and  distinction.  It  means 
three  different  things,  as  used  in  current  controversy: 

( 1 )  It  means  the  unfair  labor  practice  committed  by  some  employers 
when  they  discriminate  unjustly  against  anyone  because  of 
union  affiliation  or  other  concerted  activity  in  employment. 
This  conduct  is  condemned  by  federal  and  state  legislation  and 
by  good  morals.   AWARE,  Inc.  also  condemns  it  and  has  never 
indulged  in  it. 

(2)  It  means  defaming  someone  by  untruthful  or  erroneous  state- 
ment;  or   maliciously   destroying   someone's   good   name   by 
unfounded  or  unwarranted  defamation.  The  injury  in  this  case 
is  to  someone's  standing  in  his  profession  or  to  his  reputation. 
Such  defamation  is  in  violation  of  ancient  standards  of  law 
(libel  and  slander).   It  is  also  a  violation  of  sound  morals  and 
religion.    Along  with  all  right-minded  persons,  AWARE,  Inc. 


condemns  such  conduct  and  has  never  indulged  in  it.  Every 
time  AWARE,  Inc.,  by  one  of  its  bulletins  has  identified  a  person 
as  a  member  of  the  Communist  Party  or  as  a  member  of  some 
Communist  front  organization,  it  has  told  the  complete  truth 
and  it  has  in  its  possession  ample  documentation  or  other  evi- 
dence to  demonstrate  this.  Not  one  of  the  persons  thus  iden- 
tified by  AWARE  has  filed  suit  to  challenge  AWARE'S  accuracy. 
(3)  Some  persons  have  found  it  to  their  advantage  to  transfer  the 
name  "blacklisting"  from  its  traditional  meaning  in  senses  (1) 
and  (2),  above,  so  that  it  will  cover  a  third  meaning:  to  tell  the 
truth  about  people  when,  in  the  interest  of  one's  union,  one's 
profession  and  one's  country,  the  truth  needs  to  be  told.  This 
is  not  "blacklisting"  imputing  wrong  or  unjust  conduct. 

If,  in  fact,  people  are  giving  aid  and  comfort  to  communism,  by 
becoming  members  of  the  Communist  Party  or  by  frequently  joining 
Communist  front  organizations,  the  current  world  situation  requires 
that  they  be  identified  as  carriers  of  a  political  and  moral  contagion, 
whether  they  know  it  or  not.  They  should  not  be  allowed  to  be 
"neutral"  in  this  fight.  They  should  stand  up  and  be  counted.  In  this 
mortal  conflict,  he  "who  gathers  not  with  us  scatters."  Almost  nine 
hundred  million  people  behind  Iron  Curtains  without  the  slightest 
vestige  of  civil  liberties  is  holocaust  enough.  It  is  time  to  fight  back. 
We  must  protect  ourselves  and  our  heritage. 

In  this  respect  it  must  be  admitted  that  an  actor's  reputation  is 
"precariously  perched."  Every  man's  reputation  is,  in  a  sense,  pre- 
cariously perched.  One  foul  act,  one  immoral  decision  can  send  it  to 

Each  responsible  human  being  carries  his  own  reputation  in  his 
hands,  as  it  were.  If  he  is  guilty  of  obscene  or  indecent  conduct,  he 
cannot  validly  hope  to  be  immunized  from  criticism  for  it  simply 
because  he  happens  to  have  great  talent  as  an  artist.  If  a  man  commits 
murder,  he  is  going  to  be  recognized  as  a  murderer.  He  cannot  run 
to  his  union  because  of  the  damage  to  his  reputation  and  professional 
standing  which  results  from  his  own  conduct.  Communism  is  a  con- 
spiracy that  has  to  its  discredit  more  murders  than  have  ever  char- 
acterized any  previous  tyrants  in  history.  In  Red  China  alone,  since 
October,  1949,  more  than  15  million  persons  have  been  liquidated  for 
political  reasons  only. 


A  man  who  affiliates  himself  with  the  Communist  movement  in  one 
fashion  or  another,  wittingly  or  unwittingly,  by  his  own  act  and  choice 
shoulders  some  of  the  invidium  of  communism.  He  can't  blame  others. 
No  employer  can  be  compelled  to  employ  persons  with  significant  Com- 
munist affiliations.  Actors  who  join  Communist  fronts  have  to  learn 
the  hard  way.  They  have  to  learn  much  about  their  audiences.  In  the 
main,  audiences  are  patriotic.  They  resent  even  slight  participation  in 
the  Communist  conspiracy. 

The  truth  will  not  be  gagged  by  a  slogan  like  "blacklisting."  From 
time  to  time,  as  the  evidence  indicates  and  as  the  need  demands, 
AWARE  will  continue  to  publish  the  truth  about  actors  who  support 
Communist-front  organizations.  Maybe  these  actors  are  too  craven  to 
want  the  unpleasant  truth  about  themselves  known.  But,  by  par- 
ticipating in  Communist-front  activity,  they  have  helped  conspirators 
in  burying  a  knife  in  the  back  of  Americans.  Their  virtuosity  as  per- 
formers is  no  condonation.  They  know  this  themselves.  That  is  why 
they  hysterically  condemn  "blacklisting,"  try  to  make  AWARE  a  scape- 
goat and  appeal  to  unions  to  do  what  no  union  can  do:  to  hygienize 
their  popularity  tainted  with  Communist  infection. 

They  could  so  easily  wash  away  the  infection. 

The  strangest  part  of  their  performance  is  that  they  do  the  very 
things  that  they  charge  AWARE  with  doing.  They  say  that  AWARE  is 
unjust  because  it  condemns  people.  But  they,  too,  condemn  people. 
They  condemn  AWARE,  its  directors  and  members.  The  fact  of  con- 
demnation is  in  itself  not  significant.  The  important  question  is:  is  the 
condemnation  warranted  on  the  merits?  In  the  current  controversy 
they  happen  to  be  wrong.  AWARE  happens  to  be  right.  They  do  not 
make  any  serious  effort  to  show  AWARE  is  wrong  in  its  disclosures.  If 
it  were  available  to  them  it  would  be  their  best  weapon  against  AWARE. 
No  one  knows  that  better  than  they. 

They  like  to  ask  by  what  right  AWARE  and  its  members  constitute 
themselves  as  "self-appointed  judges"  to  criticize  in  these  matters. 
Politically  speaking,  the  right  should  be  obvious  to  persons  who  had 
some  respect  for  civil  rights  and  free  speech.  It  is  indeed  the  same 
political  right  which  they  presume  to  exercise  when  they  judge  AWARE 
and  its  membership.  The  trouble  is,  their  judgment  is  wrong  on  the 
facts  and  on  the  merits. 

Perhaps  the  most  laughable  of  all  the  criticisms  addressed  against 


AWARE  is  the  one  that  came  from  the  hysterical  performer  who  began 
by  saying:  "Don't  any  of  you  bigots  classify  me"  He  lived  in  the 
illusion  that  he  was  going  down  the  "middle  way"  and  that  he  was 
attacking  extremists  at  both  ends.  He  was,  in  a  word,  a  "neutralist." 
Only  fools  or  rogues  could  be  neutral  in  the  fight  between  the  Free 
World  and  communism,  which  has  ruthlessly  despoiled  so  many  nations 
and  peoples.  The  man  who  didn't  want  others  to  classify  him,  himself 
exercised  the  right  to  classify.  He  called  those  to  whom  he  was  opposed 
"bigots."  He  denied  to  others  the  same  right  of  classification  which  he 
used  with  uncouth  and  random  judgment. 

This  is  typical  of  the  "liberalism"  which  presumes  to  attack  AWARE. 
The  old  liberalism  wanted  less  government  control.  The  new  liberalism 
wants  more  government  control.  The  old  liberalism  yielded  to  others 
the  very  civil  liberties  it  claimed  for  itself.  The  new  "liberals"  want 
freedom  of  speech,  freedom  to  classify  for  themselves,  but  not  for 
others.  The  old  liberals  knew  that  bad  conduct  could  invoke  no  immu- 
nity from  criticism  because  of  good  art.  Wagner  could  be  called  a 
stinker  by  the  very  people  who  thought  he  was  a  genius  as  a  composer. 
The  new  liberalism  wants  talent  as  an  actor  to  shield  a  man  from  the 
unpopularity  that  greets  character  defects  and  sin. 

It  is  not  that  AWARE  wants  an  immunity  from  criticism.  AWARE 
recognizes  that  those  who  are  criticizing  it  in  the  present  controversy 
about  "blacklisting"  are  precisely  the  people  who  are  laying  claim  to  an 
immunity  from  criticism  because  they  help  communism.  Yet  they 
freely  criticize  AWARE  and  its  membership.  They  ask  unions  to  adopt 
resolutions  which  are,  in  effect,  gag  rules  and  bills  of  attainder.  Hypo- 
critically, those  resolutions  are  aimed  at  "blacklisting"  in  senses  ( 1 )  and 
(2)  above.  Those  who  have  voted  for  such  resolutions  have  never 
squarely  faced  "blacklisting"  in  sense  (3)  above.  If  they  had,  they 
would  not  be  so  naive  as  to  suppose  that  "blacklisting"  in  sense  (3) 
(telling  the  unpleasant  truth  that  needs  to  be  told)  can  ever  be  hindered 
or  halted  by  a  union.  Persons  in  public  life,  such  as  actors  and  poli- 
ticians, will  always  be  vulnerable  to  the  truth.  It  would  be  a  tragic  day 
for  this  country  if  the  truth  were  not  available  to  wound  them  in  con- 
science and  popularity  when  they  hide  behind  the  skirts  of  the  Com- 
munist conspiracy. 


The  Theatrical  Unions 

IN  THE  FALL  OF  1952,  a  partial  transcript  of  testimony  given  be- 
fore the  Senate  Internal  Subcommittee  was  made  public.  In  a  brief 
foreword,  signed  by  the  Chairman,  Senator  McCarran,  and  Senators 
Eastland  and  Watkins,  this  statement  appeared: 

In  1943,  pursuant  to  orders  from  Alexander  Trachtenberg,  a  Com- 
munist leader,  there  began  a  systematic  Communist  infiltration  of  the 
field  of  radio.  Thereafter,  a  continuing  struggle  developed  within  the 
Radio  Writers  Guild  between  pro-Communist  and  anti-Communist 
factions.  Although  a  large  majority  of  the  membership  of  the  Radio 
Writers  Guild  is  anti-Communist,  the  council  of  the  Guild,  which  is  the 
governing  body,  is  controlled  by  the  pro-Communist  faction  which  has 
aligned  the  Guild  in  support  of  Communist  organizations  and  causes. 

Similar  statements  have  been  made  at  one  time  or  another  about 
other  New  York  talent  unions,  in  particular  Actors  Equity  Asso- 
ciation and  the  American  Federation  of  Television  and  Radio 
Artists  (AFTRA). 

The  relationship  between  union  activity  and  blacklisting  in 
radio-tv  is  complex.  In  the  charges  and  countercharges  of  recent 
years,  both  pro-  and  anti-blacklisting  factions  in  the  talent  guilds 
have  claimed  they  were  being  discriminated  against  because  of 
positions  taken  at  union  meetings.  One  group  maintains  it  has 
suffered  because  of  its  "militant  unionism";  the  other  insists  it  has 
been  discriminated  against  for  leading  a  fight  against  communism. 
There  is  a  measure  of  exaggeration  in  both  charges. 

"Militant  unionism"  per  se  was  never  a  cause  of  blacklisting. 
But  from  union  records  information  could  be  gathered  about  a 


performer's  or  writer's  politics,  and  this  information  provided 
charges  for  the  dossiers  that  were  assembled  when  blacklisting 
began.  In  many  cases,  then,  blacklisted  performers  and  writers 
claimed  they  were  "in  trouble"  because  they  were  good  trade- 

The  confusion  followed  from  a  more  fundamental  error.  The 
error  consisted  in  sharply  dividing  theatrical  unionists  into  two 
extremist  camps,  "pro-Communist"  and  "anti-Communist,"  and 
simply  ignoring  the  liberals  and  conservatives  (anti-Communist 
but  not  right-whig)  who  make  up  the  center.  As  a  result  many 
pro-Roosevelt  partisans  were  falsely  assigned  to  the  "pro-Commu- 
nist" camp  and  some  who  were  opposed  to  communism  but  had  no 
sympathy  for  "anti-Communist"  extremism  were  assigned  to  the 
far  right.  In  the  beginning,  it  was  wholly  misleading  to  polarize 
the  unions  this  way.  But  after  the  neat  division  had  been  repeated 
over  and  over,  the  reality  began  to  approximate  the  lop-sided  image. 
For  as  the  struggles  between  "pro-"  and  "anti-Communists"  intensi- 
fied, the  broad  center  of  the  talent  unions  gave  up  going  to  meetings 
and  the  internal  strife  was  actually  polarized.  To  be  sure,  there 
were  still  anti-Communists  opposed  to  blacklisting  and  some  liber- 
als and  conservatives  supported  it,  but  most  people  directly  involved 
simply  dropped  out  and  left  the  extremists  to  fight  it  out. 

Before  the  union  situation  can  be  related  to  blacklisting,  then, 
it  is  necessary  to  get  some  idea  of  how  the  extremists  gained  such 
power.  The  Radio  Writers  Guild,  now  defunct,  can  be  taken  as  a 
typical  example.  What  is  said  about  the  Writers  Guild  is  more  or 
less  true  too  of  AFTRA,  the  actors'  union. 

Three  groups  were  at  work  in  the  Radio  Writers  Guild  through- 
out its  history:  a  fairly  small  Communist  faction,  a  fairly  small 
right-wing  faction,  and  a  center  composed  of  the  bulk  of  the  mem- 
bership, largely  liberal  and  New  Dealish. 

There  is  little  concrete  evidence  of  Communist  activity  in  the 
radio-tv  field.  Only  a  few  former  members  of  the  Party  have  testi- 


fied  before  Congressional  Committees.  Much  of  what  has  been 
written  about  the  subject  makes  no  distinctions  between  liberals 
and  Communists.  Still,  certain  generalizations  are  possible  and  one 
fact  is  beyond  dispute:  there  was  a  conscious,  organized  Commu- 
nist caucus  in  the  entertainment  industry  which  pushed  the  Party 
line  hi  the  various  talent  unions. 

The  testimony  of  two  witnesses,  former  members  of  the  Com- 
munist faction,  is  revealing.  One  of  these,  an  actor  named  George 
Hall,  appeared  at  the  hearings  of  the  House  Un-American  Activi- 
ties Committee  on  August  17,  1955  at  the  Foley  Square  Court 
House  in  New  York  City.  Hall  said  he  had  been  a  member  of 
the  Party  for  18  months,  had  joined  a  year  after  the  end  of  World 
War  II  and  maintained  links  with  the  Party  after  he  resigned.  He 
went  to  the  FBI  on  March  5,  1954,  and  wrote  the  Committee  in 
May,  asking  for  a  hearing.  The  picture  he  later  gave  of  the  opera- 
tion of  the  Communist  faction  (the  union  hi  this  case  was  Actors 
Equity  Association)  does  not  square  with  the  Communists'  repu- 
tation for  ubiquity  and  super-efficiency. 

Hall  testified  that  during  his  18  months  in  the  Party  he  attended 
no  union  caucus  meetings.  His  main  activity  during  his  stay  in 
the  Party  had  been  to  entertain  at  a  few  (five  "at  the  outside") 
fund-raising  parties.  He  had  voted  as  he  was  told  in  union  elections 
but  otherwise  had  not  participated  in  any  disciplined  Communist 
union  activity. 

This  is  not  to  imply,  of  course,  that  Party  activity  hi  the  industry 
and  talent  unions  was  ineffective.  The  testimony  of  Allan  E. 
Sloane,  a  radio  writer,  before  the  House  Un-American  Activities 
Committee  in  January,  1954,  indicates  that  the  Communists  in  the 
unions  were  well  organized  and  disciplined.  Party  members  wrote 
agit-prop  scripts  (for  Party  affairs),  prepared  speeches  and  carried 
on  a  lively  schedule  of  political  activity.  Still,  Sloane's  testimony 
also  bears  out  the  belief  that  the  actual  Communists  in  the  industry, 
though  dedicated  and  active,  were  few  at  all  times. 


But  difficulties  in  assessing  the  Party's  role  in  the  talent  unions 
arise  when  the  Communist  periphery  is  taken  into  account.  And 
it  is  precisely  here  that  most  of  the  confusion  has  arisen.  A  case  in 
point  was  a  rally  held  at  Carnegie  Hall  on  October  16,  1942, 
under  the  sponsorship  of  The  Artists'  Front  to  Win  the  War.  The 
meeting  was  organized  to  agitate  for  a  second  front.  "We  call 
for  united  support  of  our  President  and  the  military  leaders  of 
America,  who  have  urged  the  advisability  of  a  second  front  this 
year."  The  program  distributed  at  the  meeting  devoted  two  pages 
to  quoting  outstanding  Americans  who  agreed  that  a  second  front 
should  be  opened. 

The  demand  for  a  second  front,  of  course,  was  one  of  the 
major  causes  of  the  American  Communist  Party  at  that  time.  But 
many  non-Communists  were  eager  for  it,  too.  The  sponsors  of  the 
rally  included  some  who  undoubtedly  are  Communists,  or  at  least 
were  then,  but  also  numbered  people  obviously  not  Party  members, 
among  them  the  veteran  anti-Communist  actor  Eddie  Dowling, 
who  described  himself  late  in  1954  as  "the  only  supporter  of  Senator 
McCarthy  left  on  Broadway."  The  Carnegie  Hall  meeting  was 
typical.  It  demonstrated  that  Communists  were  often  able  to 
assemble  a  broad  non-Communist  and  Communist  grouping  for 
support  of  their  line. 

Paul  Milton,  a  radio  writer  and  board  member  of  AWARE,  Inc., 
was  asked  when  he  appeared  before  the  McCarran  Subcommittee 
in  1951:  "Does  the  line  of  this  Radio  Writers  Guild  leadership 
approximate  the  Communist  Party  line?"  Milton  answered:  "On  key 
questions,  yes,  sir.  On  the  Mundt-Nixon  bill  it  followed  the  line.  .  .  . 
At  the  time,  for  instance,  that  the  soldier  vote  was  under  considera- 
tion in,  I  guess  it  was  the  House,  one  of  the  members,  a  member 
of  the  pro-Communist  faction,  attempted  to  induce  the  guild  to 
communicate  with  Washington  on  the  question,  when  the  question 
of  soldier's  vote,  one  way  or  the  other,  had  no  connection  what- 
soever with  the  Guild." 


Another  witness  who  testified  against  the  Radio  Writers  Guild 
leadership,  Welbourn  Kelley,  cited  denunciations  of  the  American 
Legion  and  the  (Catholic)  Brooklyn  Tablet  at  union  meetings  as 
examples  of  the  strength  of  the  pro-Communist  faction.  Clearly, 
in  the  cases  mentioned  by  Milton  and  Kelley,  there  were  many 
anti-Communists  who  opposed  the  Mundt-Nixon  bill,  the  Taft- 
Hartley  bill  or  who  were  critical  of  the  American  Legion  and  the 
Brooklyn  Tablet. 

Unfortunately,  these  distinctions  have  often  been  ignored.  "Inno- 
cent" liberals  who  participated  in  Communist  fronts  and  actual 
Party  members  were  often  lumped  together  as  the  "pro-Communist 
faction"  in  the  debates  that  raged  within  the  talent  unions.  Because 
of  this,  many  who  were  never  Communists  but  have  been  black- 
listed claim  they  are  being  punished  for  yesterday's  union  "mili- 
tancy." What  did  happen  is  that  many  pro-union  people  in  the 
entertainment  field  frequently  found  themselves  in  agreement  on 
union  issues  with  an  unidentified  Communist  faction.  And  it  is 
the  latter  fact,  not  unionism  per  se,  which  forms  the  basis  of  charges 
against  them. 

During  the  early  days  of  the  Radio  Writers  Guild,  there  was  a 
split  on  the  question  of  how  labor-oriented  the  organization  should 
be.  One  group  considered  the  Guild  part  of  the  general  trade-union 
movement.  Another  thought  that  the  Guild  should  be  a  profes- 
sional organization,  remote  from  the  struggles  of  manual  workers. 
Some  Communists  and  many  non-Communists  were  in  the  group 
favoring  unionism.  Among  those  who  sought  to  make  the  Guild 
into  a  professional  association  were  a  number  of  the  people  who 
were  later  to  form  AWARE,  Inc. 

How  deep  this  early  disagreement  went  can  be  seen  from  the 
testimony  of  Ruth  Adams  Knight.  Miss  Knight,  a  veteran  radio 
writer,  recalled  an  incident  in  1943.  She  had  come  back  to  New 
York  after  a  long  absence  and  was  told  by  a  friend  that  the  Guild 


was  "faced  with  a  desperate  situation."  Miss  Knight  went  to  a 
meeting  to  learn  what  her  friend  meant. 

I  went  to  the  meeting  and  it  was  not  a  meeting  which  I  would  have 
recognized  —  I  knew  very  few  of  the  people  there  —  it  might  easily  have 
been  a  meeting  of  the  Steamfitters  Union  and  it  had  no  relation  to 
writers  or  writers'  rights  or  anything  of  that  sort,  and  it  was  entirely  a 
labor  meeting  and  a  meeting  in  which  a  great  deal  of  violence  was 
expressed.  There  was  a  great  deal  of  turbulence  ...  I  do  not  think  I 
am  exaggerating  when  I  say  the  mob  spirit  of  the  meeting  was  very 
evident,  and  the  Author's  League,  as  I  say,  had  always  been  a  dignified 
body  of  writers  .  .  . 

Thus,  the  "pro-Communist"  and  "anti-Communist"  split  was 
rooted  hi  a  larger  disagreement.  On  the  one  side  were  those  who 
resisted  the  Guild's  labor  orientation  as  strongly  as  Ruth  Adams 
Knight.  On  the  other  side,  a  large  group,  by  no  means  all  Com- 
munist, differed  with  them.  Since  some  of  the  most  articulate  and 
powerful  "anti-Communists"  of  later  years  came  out  of  the  group 
which  opposed  the  trade-union  concept  of  the  Guild,  many  of  the 
non-Communists  who  had  disagreed  with  them  in  the  past  felt  that 
a  purge  of  "militant  unionists"  was  on,  when  blacklisting  began.  A 
similar  situation  existed  in  the  American  Federation  of  Radio 
Artists  where  the  right-wing  "anti-Communist"  faction  first  began 
to  form  during  the  Second  World  War  in  opposition  to  the  union's 
endorsing  Franklin  D.  Roosevelt. 

In  the  period  when  blacklisting  developed,  this  confusion  had 
immediate  practical  consequences.  For  one  thing,  the  anti-Com- 
munists of  extreme  right- whig  persuasion  were  in  a  good  position : 
they  had  never  joined  Communist  fronts,  their  records  were  "clean." 
For  another,  they  took  their  own  analysis  of  the  split  in  the  industry 
seriously.  The  result  was  an  "anti-Communist"  ideology  largely 
based  on  the  proposition  that  there  was  only  one  kind  of  anti- 
communism,  that  represented  by  the  right  wing.  Exceptions  were 
made  (Morton  Wishengrad,  a  liberal  anti-Communist  writer,  is 


acceptable  to  AWARE,  Inc.)?  but  the  prevailing  notion  was  rooted 
in  a  simplified  division  of  the  union  into  two  absolutely  opposed 

It  was  this  simplification  which  got  the  McCarran  Committee 
into  trouble  on  the  very  day  it  released  its  report  on  the  Radio 
Writers  Guild.  One  of  the  central  issues  before  the  Guild  at  that 
time  was  a  highly  publicized  resolution  submitted  by  Welbourn 
Kelley  to  the  Regular  Council  Meeting,  Eastern  Region,  of  the 
Radio  Writers  Guild.  On  July  25,  1950,  Kelley  had  proposed  that 
the  Guild  offer  its  services  to  support  America's  role  in  the  Korean 
War.  His  motion  was  rejected,  and  this  fact  was  repeated  time  and 
again  by  those  who  charged  that  the  Guild  was  dominated  by 

There  was  a  heated  discussion  about  the  proposal  centered  on  a 
motion  to  table,  on  grounds  that  the  Radio  Writers  Guild  never 
took  political  positions.  The  motion  to  table  carried  by  a  vote  of 
4  to  3,  with  the  chair  casting  the  deciding  ballot.  Interestingly 
enough,  one  of  the  Radio  Writers  Guild  members  frequently  ac- 
cused of  "pro-communism"  by  the  right  wing  joined  Kelley  and  a 
member  of  the  right-wing  faction  in  voting  against  tabling. 

Kelley  was  angered  by  the  tabling  motion.  After  it  carried,  he 
proposed,  bitterly,  that  "the  Eastern  Region  Council  of  the  Radio 
Writers  Guild  go  on  record  as  opposed  to  any  cooperation  with  the 
United  States  Government  if  such  cooperation  places  the  Guild  or 
its  membership  in  opposition  to  communism."  This,  of  course,  was 
an  attempt  to  spell  out  what  Kelley  regarded  as  the  implicit  basis  of 
the  motion  to  table  the  first  resolution.  Kelley  was  ruled  out  of 
order  by  the  chair,  and  a  vote  was  taken  on  this  ruling.  The  liberal 
Guild  member  who  had  voted  with  Kelley  against  the  motion  to 
table  switched  and  cast  his  ballot  in  favor  of  upholding  the  ruling  of 
the  chair. 

Finally,  the  following  motion  was  passed,  with  only  Kelley 


Be  it  resolved  that  the  Council  of  the  Eastern  Region  go  on  record 
as  stating  categorically  that  the  Council's  vote  on  tabling  the  first 
motion  introduced  by  Webb  Kelley  did  not  involve  any  expression  of 
sentiment  on  the  issue  of  cooperation  or  noncooperation  with  the 
United  States  Government. 

When  the  news  of  this  session  became  public,  the  Kelley  incident 
was  cited  as  proof  that  the  Guild  was  dominated  by  "pro-Com- 
munists." Yet  there  was  a  precedent  for  the  argument  that  the  Guild 
never  took  positions  on  political  issues,  so  non-Communists  might 
honestly  have  voted  against  the  Kelley  resolution  on  that  ground. 
This,  in  fact,  was  true  of  at  least  two  or  three  of  the  Council  mem- 
bers who  voted  against  Kelley. 

Some  years  later,  in  1955,  one  of  the  Guild  members  who  had 
voted  against  the  Kelley  resolution  was  called  before  the  Interna- 
tional Organizations  Employees  Loyalty  Board  for  a  hearing  to 
determine  whether  or  not  the  Government  objected  to  his  working 
for  the  United  Nations.  One  of  the  charges  against  him  was  his  Guild 
vote  at  this  meeting.  But  the  Loyalty  Board  cleared  the  writer. 
Another  radio  writer  who  voted  against  Kelley  has  notarized  state- 
ments from  leaders  of  AWARE,  Inc.  attesting  that  they  have  no 
knowledge  he  is  "pro-Communist."  It  is  possible  to  establish  that  a 
majority  of  those  in  attendance  at  the  Council  meeting  were  not 
Communist  or  even  "pro-Communists."  The  reason  for  their  vote 
must  be  sought  elsewhere.  But  it  would  be  ridiculous  to  assume 
that  only  anti-Communists  were  present  at  the  meeting.  Some 
who  voted  against  the  Kelley  resolution  did  so  on  the  basis  of  their 
general  political  attitude,  not  because  of  their  respect  for  the  tra- 
ditions of  the  union.  In  short,  they  were  pro-Communist.  But, 
in  a  sense,  this  is  what  is  typical  about  the  Kelley  incident.  Involved 
were  right-wing  anti-Communists,  liberal  anti-Communists  and  pro- 
Communists.  As  usual,  though,  these  groupings  were  reduced  to 
"pro-Communist"  and  "anti-Communist"  and  the  conclusion  was 
drawn  that  the  majority  was  sympathetic  to  the  Red  cause. 


In  1952,  when  the  McCarran  report  was  issued,  the  simplifica- 
tion was  reinforced  again.  But  the  same  day  The  New  York  Times 
announced  the  Committee's  findings,  it  also  reported  on  a  letter 
made  public  by  Welbourn  Kelley.  Kelley  said  in  his  letter  that  he 
had  been  told  his  testimony  would  not  be  released.  More  than  this, 
he  said  that  he  had  referred  to  certain  people  as  "left-wingers"  but 
the  Committee  instructed  him  to  describe  them  as  "pro-Commu- 
nist." "I  am  extremely  sorry  that  I  allowed  myself  to  make  this 
mistake,"  Kelley  stated,  "I  have  no  doubt  all  these  people  will  be 
harmed  [by  the  release  of  the  testimony].  I  respectfully  ask  that 
the  statements  made  by  me  which  somehow  were  omitted  from 
the  testimony  now  be  made  part  of  the  record,  namely,  that  I  can- 
not say  of  my  own  knowledge  that  any  member  of  the  Guild  is  a 

Kelley's  letter  pointed  up  the  mistake  which  the  Committee  — 
and  most  analysts  —  made  in  dealing  with  the  Guild  and  with  the 
union  situation  in  radio,  television  and  the  theatre  in  general:  a 
confusion  of  the  "left-wing,"  i.e.  the  New  Dealer,  the  Socialist,  the 
non-conformist,  the  radical,  with  the  "Communist  conspirator." 

Some  liberals  tended  to  make  a  similar  error.  They  continued 
in  the  Cold  War  era  to  act  on  the  assumptions  of  the  Popular  Front 
days  of  World  War  II.  Many  of  the  election  slates  put  forward  in 
the  talent  unions  by  the  anti-blacklisting  group  were  easy  targets 
for  their  opponents  because  there  was  equivocation  on  the  issue  of 
communism.  The  majority  of  those  who  protested  blacklisting 
were  anti-Communists.  Yet  somehow  they  believed  it  necessary 
to  include  Communists  or  well-known  fellow-travelers  on  their 
slates  so  as  not  to  violate  civil  liberties.  The  result  of  this  was  to 
perpetuate  the  simplistic  division  of  the  union  into  "pro-Commu- 
nists" and  "anti-Communists."  The  "center"  —  anti-Communist 
and  anti-blacklisting  —  never  succeeded  in  making  itself  heard.  This 
was  true  in  both  the  New  York  Radio  Writers  Guild  and  in 


One  militant  member  of  the  anti-blacklisting  faction  in  the 
Radio  Writers  Guild  recently  made  this  point.  He  expressed  great 
anger  with  the  Communists,  especially  with  those  who  without 
authorization  had  marched  in  May  Day  Parades  carrying  union 
signs.  But  his  concern  was  too  late.  By  the  time  he  realized  the 
role  of  the  Communist  Party  in  the  Guild,  much  of  the  membership 
had  been  more  or  less  alienated  from  active  participation  and  the 
polarities  of  left  and  right  were  generally  accepted. 

In  the  New  Leader  of  December  8,  1952,  an  article  by  Harry 
Gersch  and  Paul  Milton,  both  partisans  of  the  "anti-Communist" 
faction  in  the  Radio  Writers  Guild,  described  a  recent  union  elec- 
tion. Their  caucus,  We  The  Undersigned,  had  been  decisively  de- 
feated, and  the  New  Leader  article  was  a  kind  of  post-mortem. 
Toward  the  end  of  the  piece,  they  made  their  essential  point: 

The  problem  of  the  anti-Communist  everywhere  in  this  respect  is 
the  same:  how  to  reassure  the  person  who  may  once  have  been  "soft" 
on  communism  during  the  depression  or  the  war,  who  may  once  have 
given  two  dollars  to  an  organization  which  was  later  seized  by  the 
Party  —  how  to  reassure  them  that  their  better  course  is  not  to  fear 
their  pasts,  but  to  face  them  honestly  and  then  go  on  to  fight  com- 

(The  diagnosis,  though  partisan,  is  accurate.  To  it  should  be  added 
the  fact  that  having  given  two  dollars  to  a  certain  organization  could 
mean,  in  the  radio  and  television  industry,  that  a  man  might  have 
difficulty  finding  a  job,  or  at  least  have  some  explaining  to  do.) 
Gersch  and  Milton  raised  a  related  point:  "Many  believe  that 
any  attack  on  Communists  and  their  helpers  is  an  attack  on  civil 
liberties."  In  the  1951  election,  We  The  Undersigned  "spoke 
vaguely  of  the  dangers  of  communism  to  America  and  to  unions. 
No  persons  were  named  —  except  the  candidates  —  and  all  WTU 
said  was:  Don't  vote  for  them.  This  appeal  wasn't  enough."  But 
in  the  next  election 


...  a  fresh  mandate  was  sought  by  WTU  from  those  willing  to  appear 
publicly  as  anti-Communists  and  the  1952  RWG  campaign  started, 
this  time  wide  open.  We  The  Undersigned's  literature  now  minced  no 
words.  Names  of  persons  who  had  been  named  as  Communists  in 
sworn  testimony  (15),  the  Fifth  Amendment  group  (4),  and  those 
with  records  of  activity  in  front  organizations,  were  published  to  the 
membership.  Some  of  the  anti-Communists  accepted  the  new  tactics 
with  glee;  others  did  so  reluctantly  and  only  after  much  soul  searching. 
The  RWG  leadership  reacted  violently.  Some  honest  liberals  were 
scandalized.  Result:  the  worst  defeat  yet  for  the  anti-Communist 

"Some  honest  liberals  were  scandalized."  This  was  a  very  real 
liability  in  a  union  whose  general  tone  and  attitude  were  liberal. 
Furthermore,  the  election  took  place  during  the  great  debate  over 
Senator  McCarthy  and  among  the  members  of  We  The  Under- 
signed were  many  McCarthy-supporters.  Here  again,  a  neat 
dichotomy  was  put  forward,  this  time  as  pro-  versus  anti-McCarthy- 
ism.  Some  of  We  The  Undersigned's  opponents  were  undeniably 
either  Communists  or  Party  sympathizers;  some  of  its  members 
were  undeniably  vociferous  partisans  of  Senator  McCarthy.  But 
the  McCarthy,  not  the  Communist,  issue  was  decisive. 

As  an  aftermath  of  the  campaign  by  We  The  Undersigned,  one 
of  the  writers  named  in  their  literature  filed  a  libel  suit.  It  was 
settled  out  of  court  when  most  of  those  who  had  backed  the  charges 
against  him  made  statements.  A  statement  signed  by  one  of  the 
authors  of  the  New  Leader  article  was  typical: 

.  .  .  The  statements  of  our  opposition  to  X's  election  made  in  the  said 
bulletin  were  not  intended  to  imply  that  we  had  any  knowledge  of  any 
fact  that  would  lead  to  the  belief  that  he  was  a  Communist  or  a  mem- 
ber of  the  Communist  Party,  or  directly  or  indirectly  connected  with 
the  Communist  Party,  or  that  he  was,  when  the  bulletins  were  issued, 
or  that  he  is  now  a  member  of  any  Communist  front  or  action  group,  or 
a  member  of  any  Communist  conspiracy  and  we  do  not  have  any  such 

Whatever  their  intention,  the  We  The  Undersigned  group  had 


given  many  people  the  impression  that  they  were  trying  to  label 
this  writer  as  a  "pro-Communist."  And  this,  in  conjunction  with 
the  widespread  belief  that  the  far  right  controlled  We  The  Under- 
signed, hurt  their  cause. 

Another  element,  and  one  recognized  by  Milton  and  Gersch,  was 
that  We  The  Undersigned  had  a  "poor  group  record  of  union 
activity  in  the  past  two  years.  Many  of  them  had  served  as  officers, 
councilmen,  committeemen,  but  not  recently.  Most  gave  up  in 
disgust;  others  who  tried  again  felt  so  uncomfortable  they  bowed 
out  .  .  ."  This,  of  course,  goes  back  to  the  roots  of  the  "pro- 
Communist"  and  "anti-Communist"  division:  the  anti-Communist 
faction  was  suspected  of  anti-unionism  because  of  the  role  played 
by  some  of  its  members  in  the  early  days  of  the  Guild.  In  those 
days,  the  Communists  were  associated  with  "militant  unionism," 
and  their  reputation  remained  an  asset  to  them  later. 

All  this  took  place  during  the  period  when  blacklisting  was  being 
institutionalized.  The  union  struggle  finally  culminated  in  the 
dissolution  of  the  Radio  Writers  Guild  and  the  formation  of  the 
Writers  Guild  of  America.  Significantly,  the  first  issue  raised  in 
the  new  organization  was  a  referendum  on  the  Communist  problem. 

The  same  forces  were  at  work  among  the  radio-tv  actors.  In 
late  December,  1954,  AWARE,  Inc.  issued  a  supplement  to  its 
membership  bulletin,  entitled  "AWARE  Publication  Number  12." 
The  bulletin  discussed  the  opposition  the  AwARE-supported  slate 
had  met  in  the  December  9,  1954  AFTRA  election. 

"Publication  Number  12"  began  with  a  report  on  the  victory 
which  the  AwARE-supported  slate  had  won  in  the  recent  AFTRA 
election.  "Happily,  AFTRA  is  one  of  the  few  unions  in  which 
flatly  declared  anti-communism  and  anti-totalitarianism  have  won 
many  clear  victories.  The  latest  took  place  in  the  December  9 
election  of  members  of  AFTRA's  N.  Y.  Local  Board." 

The  first  statement,  that  AFTRA  is  "one  of  the  few  unions"  in 
which  anti-communism  is  dominant,  was  itself  tell-tale.  Given  the 


complete  defeat  of  the  Communists  in  the  AFL  (where  they  never 
had  a  base)  and  in  the  CIO  (where  their  unions  were  expelled), 
it  could  only  strengthen  the  charge  that  AWARE  was  anti-union. 
But  it  was  not  this  statement  which  aroused  AFTRA  members  so 
much  as  the  "listing"  of  defeated  candidates  with  their  past 

After  listing  the  opposition  and  their  records,  AWARE  concluded: 
"Thus,  out  of  26  candidates  on  the  independent'  slate,  at  least  13 
have  what  are  considered  significant  public  records  in  connection 
with  the  Communist-front  apparatus."  In  several  cases,  the  charges 
hardly  substantiated  a  "significant  public  record."  For  one  case  of 
a  "less  significant"  record,  an  actor  was  accused  of  having  "spent 
some  time  after  the  war  at  the  Hollywood  Actors  Lab,"  an  actress 
of  having  "studied  at  the  Dramatic  Workshop."  "Publication 
Number  12"  concluded:  "In  the  opinion  of  qualified  observers,  the 
Independent'  slate  in  AFTRA  this  year  demonstrates  the  need  for 
a  full-fledged  official  investigation  of  the  entertainment  industry  in 
New  York." 

It  would  be  difficult  to  create  a  situation  so  favorable  to  AWARE'S 
opposition.  The  "listing"  of  names,  especially  those  charged  with 
only  one  activity,  and  the  calling  for  a  Congressional  investigation 
were  bound  to  meet  with  the  disapproval  of  the  majority  of 
AFTRA's  membership.  "Publication  Number  12"  had  the  effect 
of  uniting  AFTRA  members,  and  the  unity  was  built  on  opposition 
to  AWARE.  It  was  not  long  before  the  opposition  was  organized. 

In  March,  1955,  a  petition  signed  by  a  long  list  of  AFTRA  mem- 
bers called  for  the  condemnation  of  AWARE,  Inc.  The  performers 

Certain  AFTRA  union  officials  and  members  have  openly  associated 
themselves  with  an  outside  organization  (AWARE,  Inc.)  which  prints 
attacks  upon  AFTRA  members  and  invites  a  Congressional  investiga- 
tion of  the  entire  entertainment  industry. 

In  detailing  their  charges  against  "Publication  Number  12,"  they 


wrote,  "Isn't  it  common  knowledge  that  such  listings  become  black- 
lists .  .  .  injuring  reputations,  costing  members  jobs?" 

It  is  essential  in  understanding  this  fight  to  realize  that  eleven 
of  the  people  who  signed  the  petition  invoked  either  the  First  or 
Fifth  Amendment  at  the  House  Un-American  Activities  Committee 
hearing  at  Foley  Square  in  August,  1955.  At  the  same  time,  it 
must  be  realized  that  the  majority  of  those  who  opposed  AWARE 
at  the  membership  meeting  and  in  the  referendum  were  not  in  any 
sense  "pro-Communist"  but  anti-AwARE. 

AWARE  implied  that  it  recognized  the  situation  when  it  defended 
itself  in  a  letter  to  AFTRA  members  in  May,  1955.  The  letter 

Some  individuals  may  even  have  signed  the  letter  [calling  for  the 
condemnation  of  AWARE]  in  good  faith,  thinking  they  were  "protect- 
ing" certain  other  AFTRA  members  who,  so  the  letter  made  it  appear, 
had  been  unjustly  accused  by  AWARE  of  having  Communist-front 
records.  The  plain  fact  is  that  members  of  AFTRA  with  notorious 
Communist-front  records  apparently  succeeded  in  getting  some  unsus- 
pecting AFTRAns  to  sign  the  letter  with  them,  so  that  all  of  the  signers, 
guilty  and  innocent  alike,  would  be  in  the  same  boat.  Doesn't  this 
technique  sound  familiar  to  you?  Doesn't  it  strike  you  as  a  "strange 
coincidence"  that  many  —  too  many  —  members  of  our  profession  have 
suffered  in  the  past  through  joining  Communist  fronts  at  the  instigation 
of  the  very  same  people  who  recently  roped  unsuspecting  members 
into  signing  that  letter? 

(This  section  of  AWARE'S  defense  was  interesting  on  two  scores. 
First,  it  recognized  that  the  opposition  was  not  simply  Communist 
but  a  combination  of  pro-Communists  and  non-Communists.  Sec- 
ondly, it  could  only  be  read  as  a  not  too  veiled  threat:  Individuals 
in  the  past  have  suffered  by  joining  with  these  people;  you  have 
joined  with  these  people  —  the  "therefore  you  will  suffer"  was  not 
stated.  Here  again,  AWARE  succeeded  in  creating  even  greater 
hostility  toward  itself  and  made  it  all  the  easier  for  Communists  to 
enlist  non-Communists  in  an  anti-AwARE  coalition. ) 


AWARE  then  went  on  to  remark  that  "the  letter  deliberately 
cited  only  the  weakest  items  in  the  AWARE  Bulletin  and,  just  as 
deliberately,  omitted  mention  of  other  items  of  an  extremely  serious 
nature.  Certain  candidates  for  office  in  AFTRA  had  done  much 
more  than  'married  a  liberal.'  They  had  married  (and  never 
divorced  themselves  from)  .  .  .  notorious  Communist-front 
activities.  .  .  ." 

AWARE'S  point  was  valid.  Often  the  defense  against  charges  of 
communism  in  the  industry  is  the  counter-allegation  that  only 
"innocent  liberals"  are  attacked.  This  is  not  the  case.  But,  un- 
fortunately for  AWARE,  this  was  not  the  main  point  at  issue.  The 
AFTRA  membership  had  become  disturbed  over  the  whole  tech- 
nique of  accusations,  "listings"  and  implications  of  conspiratorial 

At  the  end  of  May,  the  anti-AwARE  forces  within  AFTRA  were 
able  to  increase  their  support.  In  a  letter  addressed  to  the  member- 
ship, they  added  names  to  their  list  of  petitioners,  widened  their 
base  within  the  union,  and,  because  of  AWARE'S  tactics,  were  better 
able  to  muster  their  forces.  Eventually,  the  inevitable  took  place: 
AWARE  was  condemned  at  an  AFTRA  membership  meeting  and 
later  by  referendum.  Up  to  the  last  minute,  the  pro-AwARE  forces 
attempted  to  pitch  the  fight  on  a  "Communist"  versus  "anti- 
Communist"  plane.  Columnist  Leon  Racht,  an  AwARE-supporter, 
wrote  in  the  New  York  Journal- American  on  June  18,  1955:  "This 
department  would  like  to  sound  the  warning  that  a  'yes'  vote  in  the 
referendum  would  unsparingly  condemn  AWARE  and  would,  in 
effect,  poke  the  Communist  camel's  nose  under  the  tent  of  the 

Racht's  statement,  and  almost  all  the  pro-AwARE  defenses, 
missed  the  point  by  a  mile.  What  needed  explaining  was  not  why 
the  Communists  in  AFTRA  were  opposed  to  AWARE.  That  could 
be  assumed.  The  real  question  was  why  so  many  anti-Communists 
were  so  bitterly  opposed  to  an  anti-Communist  group.  And  here 


responsibility  has  to  be  placed  on  AWARE'S  own  door-step.  Its 
tactics,  the  tone  of  its  anti-communism,  its  association  in  the  minds 
of  many  with  anti-unionism:  these  were  the  significant  causes  of 
the  "condemnation,"  rather  than  the  machinations  of  a  small  group 
of  Communists.  By  placing  the  debate  within  AFTRA  on  an 
either/or,  "pro-Communist"  or  "anti-Communist"  basis,  and  iden- 
tifying true  anti-communism  with  AWARE,  the  organization  created 
a  climate  in  which  the  Communists  could  flourish. 

As  a  result  of  these  factional  struggles,  the  unions  in  the  enter- 
tainment field  were  unable  to  offer  any  genuine  resistance  to 

One  talent  union,  however,  has  resisted  blacklisting:  Actors 
Equity  Association,  the  organization  of  actors  in  the  legitimate 
theatre.  By  1955,  Equity  was  the  only  union  in  the  entertainment 
field  which  had  a  functioning  anti-blacklisting  committee  and  took 
a  forthright  stand  on  the  whole  question. 

The  Communist  problem  had  existed  in  Equity  for  many  years 
but  never  became  the  violently  divisive  question  it  was  in  other 
talent  unions.  Because  of  this,  it  was  possible  for  Equity  to  negoti- 
ate an  anti-blacklisting  clause  in  its  contract  with  the  League  of 
New  York  Theatres. 

In  the  late  Thirties,  Equity  was  divided  on  the  same  question 
bedeviling  other  talent  unions.  One  faction  regarded  Equity  as 
part  of  the  general  labor  movement.  Another  faction  wanted  it  to 
be  a  professional  association.  A  number  of  those  later  identified 
with  the  right-wing  "anti-Communist"  side  in  union  politics  held 
the  latter  position.  And  the  Communists  in  Equity  were  a  part  of 
the  labor-oriented  faction.  Nevertheless,  the  struggle  never  became 
as  sharp  in  Equity  as  elsewhere. 

A  pre-war  incident  illustrated  the  Communist  problem  in  Equity. 
At  a  meeting  on  May  24,  1940,  a  motion  was  presented  calling  for 
American  neutrality:  "For  America's  true  and  complete  neutrality 


on  the  world  state  today;  against  America's  being  dragged  into  war; 
against  the  use  of  actors  to  further  war  sentiment;  for  a  definite  and 
continuous  and  sincere  effort  on  the  part  of  our  government  to 
solve  the  actor's  unemployment  problem.  . . ."  This  was,  of  course, 
the  period  of  the  Hitler-Stalin  Pact.  The  American  Communist 
Party  was  pushing  strongly  for  isolationism.  As  soon  as  the  motion 
was  introduced,  Equity  Magazine  reported:  "There  was  a  storm 
of  emotion  aroused,  for  and  against  the  motion. . .  .  Mr.  Bert  Lytell 
ruled  that  the  motion  was  out  of  order,  from  which  ruling  there  was 
an  immediate  appeal.  The  count  of  ballots  which  followed  showed 
that  the  chair  had  been  sustained  by  a  vote  of  88  to  57." 

As  a  result  of  the  argument  over  this  motion,  seven  members  of 
the  Equity  Council  were  accused  of  being  Communists  on  the  floor 
of  the  House  of  Representatives.  One  of  the  actors  accused  issued 
a  statement  to  the  Associated  Press  denying  any  connection  with, 
or  sympathy  for,  the  Communist  Party.  Later,  the  Congressman 
who  made  the  accusation  admitted  that  this  particular  actor  was 
probably  only  an  "innocent  stooge"  and  not  an  actual  Party  mem- 
ber. Shortly  after  the  attack,  the  actor  was  not  nominated  for 
re-election  to  the  Equity  Council  because  "it  was  felt  that  his  re- 
election would  not  be  for  the  best  interests  of  the  membership  of 
Equity.  ..."  (The  chairman  of  the  nominating  committee  which 
took  this  position  was  later  blacklisted  in  the  movies  on  the  grounds 
of  pro-communism. ) 

The  storm  continued  throughout  the  Equity  elections.  The  New 
York  World-Telegram  reported  that  most  informed  people  "dis- 
count completely  the  Red  Angle  and  call  the  big  struggle  a  re- 
volt against  the  'reactionary,  old  Guard  administration'  by  a  sort 
of  New  Deal  group  of  actors  who  want  to  see  Equity  climb  out  of 
the  rut.  The  consistently  anti-Administration  group  of  past  years 
and  whatever  Communists  are  in  Equity  are  off  in  a  corner  in  the 
role  of  spectators."  After  the  election,  in  which  the  independent 
ticket  scored  significant  successes,  two  vice  presidents  and  eight 


Council  members  resigned  from  their  Equity  positions  as  a  protest 
against  "subversive  elements"  in  the  union.  In  their  statement  of 
resignation,  they  declared: 

For  years  we  have  been  struggling  against  an  influence  in  our  asso- 
ciation which  seemed  to  us  subversive  of  American  ideals  and  insti- 
tutions. We  have  seen  this  element  change  Equity  more  and  more 
from  a  Guild  of  Professionals,  working  for  the  best  interests  of  the 
theatre  as  a  whole,  to  a  labor  union  of  different  objectives." 

During  this  period,  Equity  itself  demanded  a  Congressional  in- 
vestigation of  alleged  Communist  activity  in  the  theatre.  In  1941, 
Bert  Lytell,  President  of  Equity,  sent  a  wire  to  the  acting  chairman 
of  the  Dies  Committee,  urging  the  Committee  to  investigate  Equity 
as  soon  as  possible.  Congressman  Lambertson,  who  had  made  the 
original  charge  against  the  Equity  members,  also  pressed  for  a 
probe.  But  in  August,  1941,  a  Congressman  said:  "Just  about  the 
nearest  I  have  ever  come  in  my  life  to  confessing  a  sense  of  utter 
futility  has  been  in  connection  with  my  unceasing  efforts  to  have  the 
Lambertson  charges  .  .  .  heard  by  the  Dies  Committee." 

The  incident  was  more  or  less  closed  in  1942  when  Equity  passed 
a  constitutional  amendment  which  read: 

Under  the  provisions  of  this  section  members  of  certain  specified 
parties,  groups  and  organizations  whose  activities  are  deemed  inimical 
to  the  best  interest  of  the  Actors  Equity  Association  and  its  members; 
or  of  parties,  groups  and  organizations  which  may  hereafter  be  so 
deemed  by  the  Council,  are  barred  from  holding  office  in  or  being 
employed  by  Equity.  The  right  to  membership  in  Equity  of  members 
of  these  parties,  groups  or  organizations,  is  not,  however,  affected. 

The  amendment  indicated  that  the  overwhelming  majority  of  Equity 
members  were  opposed  to  communism.  In  later  years,  even  stronger 
motions  were  passed,  including  one  of  outright  condemnation  of 

This  dispute  in  1940-41  is  typical  of  the  struggles  that  have  taken 
place  in  the  talent  unions.  On  one  side,  the  New  Dealish  faction 
fought  to  make  Equity  more  of  a  labor  union.  On  the  other,  the 


"conservative"  faction  demanded  a  professional  association.  In 
later  years,  the  positions  actors  took  in  these  debates  were  used 
against  them  as  accusations  in  radio-television  screening.  In  all  of 
this,  Equity  resembled  other  unions.  A  significant  difference,  how- 
ever, was  the  conscious,  and  successful,  attempt  in  Equity  to  present 
politically  balanced  slates. 

After  Red  Channels  and  the  Jean  Muir  and  Phil  Loeb  cases, 
there  was  agitation  hi  Equity  for  some  kind  of  anti-blacklisting 
machinery.  A  motion  proposed  stated  that  Equity  would  fight 
against  blacklisting  and  that  the  politics  of  its  members  was  of  no 
concern  to  the  Association.  This  the  Council  rejected.  Instead,  a 
motion  was  passed  placing  Equity  on  record  as  opposed  to  both 
communism  and  fascism,  and  then  an  anti-blacklisting  committee 
was  formed.  During  the  same  period,  there  was  a  proposal  to  nego- 
tiate a  collective-bargaining  agreement  with  the  League  of  New 
York  Theatres,  which  would  have  referred  blacklist  cases  to  union 

The  final  agreement  did  not  make  blacklisting  a  matter  for  union 
arbitration.  Instead,  the  League  of  New  York  Theatres  proposed 
a  joint  union-management  statement  of  opposition.  The  willing- 
ness of  the  theatre  owners  to  come  out  against  blacklisting  was 
strongly  criticized  by  Counterattack.  The  fact  that  blacklisting  was 
not  made  a  matter  of  union  arbitration  was,  however,  disappointing 
to  some  members  of  Equity.  Counterattack  felt  that  the  agreement 
indicated  a  "softness  toward  communism"  on  the  part  of  manage- 
ment. The  anti-blacklisting  group  in  Equity  regarded  the  agree- 
ment of  joint  cooperation  as  a  watering-down  of  its  original 

In  actual  practice,  the  Equity-League  of  New  York  Theatres 
agreement  has  been  a  moral  rather  than  a  practical  force.  On  the 
one  hand,  as  a  statement  of  principle,  it  was  strong  enough  to  draw 
Counterattack's  fire.  But  it  has  rarely  been  invoked,  largely  because 
there  are  so  few  actual  cases  in  the  theatre. 


In  the  early  days,  both  the  Radio  Writers  Guild  and  AFTRA 
created  committees  to  handle  the  blacklisting  problem.  All  three 
unions  in  New  York  banded  together  in  an  inter-union  liaison.  But 
within  a  few  years,  the  Radio  Writers  Guild  was  out  of  existence, 
and  the  leadership  of  AFTRA  passed  into  the  hands  of  people  more 
or  less  sympathetic  to  political  screening.  For  these  and  other 
reasons  the  inter-union  committee  collapsed. 

AFTRA,  the  organization  of  radio  and  television  artists,  elected 
a  new  "middle  of  the  road"  slate  of  candidates  in  December,  1955. 
It  is  generally  felt  in  the  industry  that  the  election  represented  a 
defeat  for  both  extremist  camps,  left  and  right.  The  December, 
1955  election  was  widely  interpreted  to  mean  that  the  fate  of  the 
union  at  long  last  was  in  the  hands  of  reasonable  and  moderate 
stewards  —  the  middle-of-the-road  group  which  for  too  long  had 
been  absent  from  the  scene,  leaving  the  extremists  of  left  and  right 
to  dominate.  In  March,  1956  the  new  directors  of  the  union  re- 
solved to  formally  notify  all  talent  employers  —  networks,  stations, 
advertising  agencies,  independent  producers,  etc.  —  that  the  union 
would  take  "appropriate  action"  against  an  employer  who  dis- 
criminates against  an  artist  on  the  basis  of  charges  made  by  AWARE 
or  any  similar  organization. 


Some  Interviews 


Interview  with  a  radio-television  producer 

I  know  Harry  personally.  He  told  me  when  we  met  for  lunch 
that  had  we  not  been  friends  he  would  have  declined  to  see  me,  on 
the  basis  of  being  "too  busy."  He  feels  unable  to  say  anything  for 
the  record. 

This  is  the  way  the  system  works  at  Harry's  network.  He  has  an 
assistant  named  Joe.  When  a  writer,  director,  musician,  performer 
or  guest  star  is  being  considered  for  Harry's  program,  Joe  calls  an 
extension  number  at  the  network's  headquarters  and  turns  in  the 
name.  Later  Joe  gets  a  return  call  from  the  mysterious  person  at 
the  other  end  of  the  wire,  who  tells  him  whether  the  artist  being 
considered  for  employment  is  "available"  or  "not  available."  Now 
it  happens  from  time  to  time  that  a  "not  available"  artist  has  just 
left  Harry's  office  and  Harry  knows  that  he  or  she  is  available.  But 
the  euphemism  is  generally  understood  and  accepted.  It  all  works 
very  smoothly.  As  a  producer  Harry  does  not  actually  participate 
in  any  checking  procedure. 

Harry  thinks  the  lists  are  "screwy"  and  that  the  blacklisters  are 
"misguided"  and  do  not  understand  what  they  are  doing.  As  far 
as  he  personally  is  concerned,  he'd  use  everybody  —  he  does  not 

*  These  interviews  were  granted  to  a  member  of  the  research  staff  on  condition 
that  names  would  not  be  used.   Names  here  used  are  fictitious. 


see  what  harm  they  could  do,  even  if  they  wanted  to.  But  he  would 
feel  "uncomfortable"  about  using  someone  he  knew  for  sure  to 
be  a  Communist,  "for  the  simple  reason  that  I  can't  separate  my 
political  views  from  my  creative  work."  (I  understood  this  to  mean 
that  communism  is  abhorrent  to  him  and  that  having  a  bona  fide 
Communist  around  would  make  him  uncomfortable.) 

"Morale  in  the  industry,"  Harry  feels,  "has  been  badly  affected" 
—  perhaps,  he  corrected  himself,  the  word  "aspiration"  would  be 
more  accurate  than  "morale."  The  industry  is  little  more  now  than 
a  way  to  make  money;  most  of  the  creative  satisfactions  have  been 
eliminated.  "You  do  what  is  safer,  not  better,"  Harry  says.  "You 
have  to  worry  how  this  or  that  will  be  taken  by  the  blacklisting 

In  Harry's  view,  the  saddest  aspect  is  not  the  comparatively  few 
people  who  have  been  deprived  of  work.  The  really  bad  thing  has 
to  do  with  the  content  and  quality  of  the  programs  on  tv  and  radio, 
"the  greatest  cultural  force  since  the  printing  press."  The  medium's 
full  potential  is  not  being  fulfilled  —  the  industry  is  hag-ridden  by 

Interview  with  a  Network  Executive 

"Remember  we're  in  the  business  of  selling  time  to  advertisers. 
It  is  not  up  to  us  to  disprove  allegations  against  people  who  want  to 
work  for  us.  If  someone  feels  he  has  been  unfairly  treated  he  can 
come  in  and  talk  things  over  — he'll  get  a  hearing.  But  some 
people  would  rather  lick  their  sores  than  come  in  and  clear  matters 
up.  They  say  they  won't  'explain'  themselves  to  anyone.  (He 
mentioned  the  husband  of  a  well-known  actress.)  All  right,  then, 
let  them  pay  the  price. 

"The  problem  is  different  at  a  newspaper  like  The  New  York 
Times.  If  they  lose  an  advertiser,  they  can  get  another  one.  But 
our  network  has  enormous  sums  of  money  tied  up  with  one  indi- 
vidual sponsor.  We  agree  to  help  sell  his  product.  If  having  this 


one  or  the  other  on  the  air  hurts  his  product,  we're  not  living  up 
to  our  end  of  the  bargain." 

Morale  hi  the  industry:  "It  bothers  me.  I'm  not  an  easily  in- 
timidated man,  and  yet  this  is  the  only  subject  I  know  of  that  I  do 
not  feel  free  to  discuss.  It  bothers  me." 

An  Actors  Agent 

Call  him  Bart. 

"The  worst  aspect,"  Bart  said,  "is  that  there  are  so  many  differ- 
ent lists  and  you  never  know  who  is  on  which  list.  You  have  to  find 
out  by  trial  and  error." 

I  asked  him  if,  when  he  decides  to  take  an  actor  as  a  client,  he 
checks  the  name  against  any  of  the  blacklists.  "I  feel  very  guilty 
about  it,"  he  said,  "but  I  really  have  to.  I  call  people  informally 
at  the  networks  and  check  around.  You  know,  you  pick  up  little 
scraps  of  information." 

Bart  told  me  about  an  actor  friend  of  his,  call  him  Bill  Stix. 
Stix  had  been  doing  very  well  on  tv  until  one  day  he  realized 
offers  had  stopped  coming  in.  He  had  never  belonged  to  any  or- 
ganization of  any  kind  and  had  taken  no  part  in  any  political 
activity  so  he  could  not  understand  why  he  was  blacklisted.  One 
day  he  discovered  that  another  actor  who  had  worked  in  the  Group 
Theatre  —  call  him  Ted  Stick  —  was  "controversial."  After  a  while 
he  got  CBS  to  agree  that  it  was  hi  fact  a  case  of  mistaken  identity 
and  went  back  to  work. 

Another  of  Bart's  stories  concerned  a  girl  who  not  long  ago  was 
one  of  the  busiest  ingenues  in  town.  She  was  appearing  in  a  Broad- 
way show  when  she  was  blacklisted  for  tv.  "She  wasn't  even  old 
enough  to  vote  yet,"  Bart  said.  "But  there  had  been  a  petition 
floating  around  backstage,  for  Willie  McGee,  and  she  signed  it. 
She  was  in  rehearsal  for  a  tv  show  and  got  pulled  off  when  the 
Daily  Worker  came  out  with  a  story  listing  the  people  who  had 
signed  the  petition.  It  was  a  year  before  she  worked  on  tv  again, 


though  she  had  about  300  performances  to  her  credit.  Finally 
she  broke  down  in  the  office  of  a  network  executive  one  day  and 
they  decided  to  help  her.  She  was  asked  to  sign  some  paper,  a 
loyalty  oath  or  something  —  and  then  she  was  cleared.  But  she  still 
couldn't  work  on  some  'tough'  shows.  Maybe  for  other  reasons 
or  maybe  because  of  this,  she  just  quit  acting  and  now  works  as  a 

Bart  thought  that  all  the  lists  and  the  listers  were  "equally 
harmful."  He  is  bothered  because  the  public  "does  not  understand 
that  there  really  is  no  very  substantial  basis  for  these  lists."  He 
said  he  did  not  believe  in  lists  of  any  kind.  "The  sooner  we  get 
away  from  them,  the  better." 

Interview  with  a  labor  consultant 

Bernard  is  close  to  the  industry,  though  not  a  part  of  it.  I  asked 
if  he  thought  blacklisting  was  necessary.  "I've  been  involved  in 
fighting  communism  ever  since  I  was  a  kid,"  Bernard  said.  "We 
were  Socialists,  and  there  weren't  many  of  us  around.  There  were 
times,  back  in  the  late  Thirties,  when  guys  like  me  had  a  hard  time 
getting  any  breaks  in  radio.  .  .  .  Most  of  us  have  changed  our  ideas 
radically  since  those  days,  so  I  know  that  people  do  change.  I  did 
myself.  Even  those  who  were  late  in  changing  ought  to  be  given 
a  chance. . . .  But  if  I  were  a  producer  I  wouldn't  hire  Paul  Robeson 
because  my  show  would  have  to  live  on  its  commercial  appeal  and 
I  could  not  afford  to  endanger  the  sponsor's  product.  A  guy  who 
uses  the  Fifth  Amendment  is  almost  as  controversial  as  a  known 
Communist  —  and  a  mass  media  program  cannot  be  so  above  the 
conflicts  of  the  marketplace  as  all  that."  Maybe  some  who  use  the 
Fifth  Amendment  do  so  for  reasons  of  principle,  Bernard  said,  but 
that  puts  them  in  the  twilight  zone.  "Living  by  unpopular  principles 
can  be  expensive  and  they  have  to  pay,  like  a  conscientious 

Bernard  recalled  the  case  of  a  Japanese  musician  who  was  work- 


ing  for  one  of  the  big  networks  at  the  time  of  Pearl  Harbor.  This 
man  had  given  long  evidence  of  his  loyalty  to  the  United  States. 
He  had  donated  his  services  many  times  to  democratic  causes. 
"People  went  to  bat  for  him,  but  it  didn't  help  any.  He  lost  his 
job  when  feeling  against  the  Japanese  ran  high." 

I  asked  about  morale  in  the  industry.  Bernard  said  that  "black- 
listing breeds  its  own  contempt."  He  said  it  was  bad  business  to 
turn  the  authority  for  hiring  and  firing  over  to  a  group  of  self- 
appointed  experts  outside  the  industry. 

Interview  with  a  television  director 

Clayton  once  had  his  own  troubles.  His  name  was  on  a  widely 
publicized  "list."  He  was  later  cleared.  He  was  anxious  that  his 
name  not  be  brought  up  again,  so  I  agreed  to  keep  the  interview 

Clayton  confirmed  our  information  that  one  network  does  its 
blacklisting  euphemistically  by  using  the  "available"  tag.  He  thinks 
that  in  practice  there  is  no  criterion  which  can  be  applied  without 
injuring  innocent  people.  "Personally,  though,  if  I  were  choosing 
between  two  equally  talented  people  and  one  was  a  Communist, 
or  I  thought  he  was  a  Communist,  I  would  use  the  non-Communist, 
because  I  don't  like  the  Communist  mentality." 

About  the  "lists"  and  "listers"  who  have  so  much  influence, 
Clayton  said:  "They  all  are  pretty  reprehensible  and  incredibly 
inaccurate.  I  could  have  sued  the  guy  who  'listed'  me  but  the  case 
would  have  taken  four  years  to  get  to  court  —  and  then  there  is 
the  difficulty  in  establishing  proof  of  libel.  Some  of  these  people 
are  very  careful  in  choosing  their  words.  .  .  ."  As  a  general  thing, 
Clayton  believes,  the  blacklisting  operation  encourages  people  to 
vent  their  personal  resentments  —  "it's  a  kind  of  hate-machine." 

Clayton  talked  about  what  he  called  the  "predisposed"  mentality. 
You  can  find  evidence  of  Communist-thinking  in  almost  anything 
if  you  are  determined  to  find  it,  he  believes.  He  gave  two  illustra- 


tions  of  this:  One  ad  man  talking  with  another  over  lunch  said, 
"Why  do  you  always  use  stories  about  a  little  man  against  a  big 
setup  —  it's  Communist-like  thinking!"  Actually,  Clayton  argued, 
the  theme  dates  back  at  least  to  the  ancient  Greeks.  The  second 
illustration  was  from  a  program  presented  on  "You  Are  There," 
a  CBS  television  show  which  dramatizes  historical  events.  This 
particular  program  was  concerned  with  Galileo's  recantation.  It 
was  all  very  carefully  worked  out  beforehand  in  order  to  keep 
the  facts  straight  and  still  not  offend  anyone;  it  was  checked  and 
approved  by  local  clergymen  before  it  went  on  the  air.  Nowhere 
was  it  either  stated  or  implied  that  Galileo  was  tortured  to  exact 
his  recantation.  Still  CBS  got  a  letter  from  a  priest  denouncing 
the  "Communist"  implication  that  Galileo  had  been  tortured. 

Clayton  feels  that  some  sort  of  arbitration  may  be  the  answer 
to  the  problems  created  by  blacklisting.  However  the  talent  unions 
have  to  be  discounted  since  free  speech  is  practically  ruled  out 
there  —  people  who  denounce  blacklisting  on  the  floor  at  union 
meetings  may  be  subject  to  blacklisting  for  that  very  reason.  But 
in  many  cases  of  clear  injustice  —  mistaken  identity,  a  wife  or 
husband  blacklisted  because  of  the  partner's  associations,  etc.  — 
arbitration  could  be  most  effective.  Now,  he  said,  it  can  take  as 
long  as  two  years  for  an  actor  to  clear  himself  in  a  case  of  mistaken 
identity.  He  knew  of  such  a  case. 

Change  for  the  better,  he  said,  has  to  begin  at  the  topmost  level. 

Telephone  interview  with  an  advertising  agency  vice  president 

I  knew  Charlie  years  ago.  He  has  come  up  in  the  world  since. 
After  I  had  explained  my  reason  for  calling,  the  conversation  went 
something  like  this : 

"You  happen  to  have  picked  an  issue  on  which  I  personally 
would  not  want  to  comment .  .  .  (silence).  .  .  .  You  should  talk  to 
the  vice  president  in  charge  of  public  relations  —  as  a  matter  of  fact 
you  should  talk  to  the  President  himself." 


"Well,  Charlie,  can  I  quote  you  as  saying  this  is  a  subject  on 
which  you  do  not  wish  to  comment?" 

"Definitely  not!  You're  not  taking  all  this  down,  are  you?" 

"I'm  just  making  a  note  that  I've  spoken  to  you,  and  what 
your  view  is." 

"I  haven't  any  views  on  this.  [Charlie's  voice  suggested 
concern.]  There  may  be  many  reasons  why  the  agency  may  not 
wish  to  participate  in  this  —  ah,  investigation.  These  interviews 
consume  an  awful  lot  of  time,  for  one  thing.  ...  I  always  advise 
those  who  want  to  get  ahead  in  the  ad  business  not  to  be  throwing 
their  names  around  in  print  anywhere." 

Interview  with  a  network  program  director 

Fred  did  not  indicate  any  anxiety  about  the  problem.  His 
manner  was  relaxed  and  casual.  I  took  it  that  this  was  the  attitude 
he  was  intent  on  getting  across.  Fred  keeps  no  "list"  himself  and 
does  not  check  writers  or  actors  he  wants  to  use.  There  is  no 
need  —  "We're  prudent  and  careful."  He  sees  the  American 
Legion's  Firing  Line  regularly  but  never  reads  Counterattack  or 
any  of  the  other  anti-Communist  publications  which  specialize  in 
"listing."  Occasionally,  when  he  is  not  quite  sure  of  someone,  he 
talks  things  over  with  the  network's  legal  department  people. 

Fred  would  not,  of  course,  employ  a  writer  or  actor  who  was 
generally  known  as  a  Communist.  "I  wouldn't  use  Paul  Robeson." 
I  asked  how  he  would  know  for  sure  that  someone  was  a  Commu- 
nist. He  said,  "Oh,  I  know."  The  attitude  of  the  average  sponsor, 
he  said,  was  best  summed  up  this  way:  "Why  should  we  have  any 
trouble?  There  are  a  lot  of  other  actors  around." 

"I've  used  some  people  who  were  a  little  hot,  on  religious  pro- 
grams, and  nothing  happened.  I  don't  believe  in  using  people  just 
because  they  are  in  trouble.  I  tell  the  boys  working  for  me  to  aim 
for  the  best  possible  show  they  can  get.  I  tell  them  that  they  should 
not  go  out  of  their  way  to  be  heroes  or  make  a  case  out  of  being 


brave.  .  .  .  Actually  a  good  number  of  those  who  are  in  trouble 
aren't  particularly  talented.  There  are  many  mediocre  writers  and 
actors  among  them.  But  take  J.  H.,  she  is  good  and  we  have  used 
her.  We've  also  used  some  writers  who  are  under  attack.  We  don't 
follow  any  kind  of  rule." 

Fred  held  that  the  situation  had  been  blown  up  all  out  of  pro- 
portion. "A  few  have  been  hurt,"  he  said,  "but  the  sound  and 
fury  just  isn't  warranted  by  the  facts." 

The  transition  from  radio  to  television  came  at  just  about  the 
same  time  as  "this  situation,"  he  said.  People  who  were  successful 
in  radio  are  not  always  the  best  bet  for  television,  a  visual  medium. 
Consequently,  some  radio  veterans  are  not  working  just  because 
they  are  not  tv  material.  "This,"  Fred  pointed  out,  "is  part  of  the 
picture."  Another  factor  is  that  a  few  years  ago,  when  the  movies 
were  not  hiring  people  because  business  in  Hollywood  was  bad, 
the  talent  market  was  glutted.  Still  another  thing  to  remember,  he 
cautioned,  is  that  actors  and  writers  sometimes  wear  out.  "Under- 
stand, we  have  no  continuing  obligation  to  hire  these  people." 

Regarding  Red  Channels,  File  13  and  the  other  "lists":  Fred 
said  he  did  not  believe  in  putting  police  power  in  private  hands. 
The  Attorney  General's  list  is  helpful,  though. 

He  could  not  recall  any  instance  of  the  Communist  Party's  line 
coloring  a  script,  and  quickly  dismissed  the  possibility  on  the 
familiar  grounds  that  too  many  people  screen  a  script  before  it 
goes  on  the  air. 

Fred  said  he  believed  that  since  this  is  a  free  country,  anyone  has 
a  right  to  say  anything  he  pleases  but  no  one  has  a  Constitutional 
right  to  be  popular  —  if  an  actor  or  a  writer  manages  to  get  himself 
unpopular,  he  may  not  work.  It's  one  of  the  hazards  of  his  trade. 

Interview  with  a  talent  agent 

Tom  sells  scripts,  both  on  a  contract  and  free-lance  basis.  He 
has  no  copies  of  any  of  the  "lists"  in  his  office.  But,  he  says,  "You 


never  know  when  you  will  find  out  a  writer  is  in  trouble.  Maybe 
he'll  work  one  place  and  not  another,  or  he'll  suddenly  be  cut  off 
from  a  series  he's  doing.  You  never  know  why,  or  on  whose  sayso. 
One  big  advertising  agency  keeps  a  separate  list  for  each  of  its 
clients,  another  has  a  'white  list.'  The  networks  differ  on  how  the 
situation  should  be  handled." 

"We  had  a  recent  experience,"  Tom  said.  "This  writer  had 
been  doing  Studio  One  scripts  and  worked  on  other  programs. 
Suddenly  we  were  told  that  a  script  of  his  couldn't  be  used  on  CBS." 
The  script  editor  told  Tom  "off  the  record"  that  the  order  came 
from  "upstairs."  "I  got  the  idea,"  Tom  said.  "My  writer  was  on 
at  least  one  list.  Why?  I  don't  know  and  I  don't  think  the  writer 
did,  either.  .  .  .  It's  like  battling  ghosts.  Somebody  tells  you  sadly, 
'Isn't  it  a  shame,'  —  and  that's  all  you  ever  get  to  know  about  it." 

Tom  went  on:  "If  a  man  were  an  official  security  risk,  that 
would  be  another  matter.  But  I  never  hear  about  the  FBI  or  the 
Attorney  General  —  all  I  ever  hear  about  is  Red  Channels  and  this 
Johnson  of  Syracuse  and  the  other  characters  who  have  made  a 
business  out  of  this  thing.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  a  friend  of  mine, 
an  FBI  man,  tells  me  that  in  time  of  emergency,  they  could  round 
up  all  the  subversives  in  double  quick  time,  because  they  know 
who  they  are  and  where  they  are.  If  there  are  any  real  subversives 
around  who  ought  to  be  on  lists,  then  it  should  be  done  openly 
and  efficiently  by  people  with  authority,  not  by  quacks  and  screw- 
balls. The  trouble  now  is  that  just  about  everybody  is  on  some  list 
or  other.  There  is  no  clear  definition.  Liberals  and  subversives  are 
put  in  the  same  basket.  Maybe  this  thing  gets  a  few  people  who 
are  really  subversive,  but  it  gets  a  lot  of  innocent  people,  too." 

Later:  "The  burden  of  proof  is  on  the  one  accused.  You  have 
to  start  'explaining'  something  about  yourself  that  you  may  not 
even  know  about  or  remember.  Where  will  all  this  end?  Before 
they  get  through,  we'll  have  children  testifying  against  their 


I  asked  about  the  possibility  of  subversive  content  in  radio  and 
television  scripts.  Tom  said:  "How  can  the  content  be  subversive? 
By  the  time  a  script  gets  on  the  air  it  has  been  passed  by  all  kinds 
of  people,  and  believe  me,  if  the  implications  are  so  subtle  that 
they  can't  be  picked  up  after  all  that  scrutiny,  it's  not  going  to  hurt 

About  the  industry's  morale:  "Blacklisting  has  affected  every 
aspect  of  the  industry.  You'll  see  when  you  talk  to  people  who 
work  in  radio-tv.  What  happens?  Writers  write  under  other  names, 
or  they  split  fees  with  other  writers  who  are  still  in  the  clear.  .  .  . 
What  can  you  write  about,  with  all  the  suspicion  and  fear  around? 
What  writer  wants  to  stick  his  neck  out  and  maybe  be  called  a 
subversive  because  he  hasn't  steered  clear  of  social  problems?" 

About  "controversial"  performers:  "I'll  accept  only  official 
government  sources  as  authority.  Some  joined  front  organizations, 
and  so  on,  but  what  did  it  add  up  to?  Actors  just  talk  off  the  top 
of  their  heads  like  emotional  children.  Those  citations  don't  really 
mean  a  thing." 


Blacklisting  Experiences 

The  following  is  a  series  of  individual  experiences  with  black- 
listing. For  obvious  reasons,  identifications  have  been  withheld. 


IN  SEPTEMBER,  1948,  Miss  H.,  who  was  starring  in  a  play  in 
Pittsburgh,  spoke  at  a  local  rally  sponsored  by  the  Westinghouse 
Workers  for  Wallace.  The  Wallace  meeting,  and  Miss  H.'s  appear- 
ance, were  widely  publicized.  Variety  reported  that  a  "steady 
stream  of  ticket  holders"  turned  in  their  paste-boards  for  refunds 
after  the  meeting,  yet  her  play  broke  box-office  records  during 
its  run  in  the  steel  city. 

In  1950,  Miss  H.  was  starred  in  a  Kraft  Theatre  tv  production. 
In  1951,  she  was  scheduled  to  appear  on  a  tv  program  sponsored 
by  General  Mills.  Miss  H.  was  listed  in  Red  Channels,  and  protests 
began  to  come  in  from  Syracuse  immediately  after  it  was  announced 
she  would  star  on  this  program.  However,  the  cast  rallied  behind 
her,  the  show  went  on  the  air  as  scheduled,  and  there  was  no  im- 
mediate boycott  of  General  Mills  products. 

At  the  time  the  storm  blew  up,  Miss  H.  wrote  the  executive 
producer  of  the  program:  "I  understand  that  some  question  has 
been  raised  as  to  my  loyalty  to  the  United  States,  and  I  desire  to 
inform  you  categorically  that  I  am  not  now  nor  have  I  ever  been  a 
member  of  the  Communist  Party  nor  am  I  now  in  sympathy  with 
Communist  objectives."  But  despite  the  statement,  Miss  H.  was 
cut  off  from  television  work  after  that. 


She  has  been  able  to  take  part  in  radio  interview  programs  but 
in  almost  every  case  has  received  no  fees.  On  one  occasion, 
during  a  radio  interview,  Miss  H.  referred  to  her  "unpleasant  ex- 
periences" but  her  remarks  were  edited  from  the  tape  when  the 
show  went  on  the  air.  More  recently,  she  has  taken  part  in  a 
documentary-type  radio  program  on  NBC.  But  she  has  yet  to 
return  to  television  as  a  regular  performer. 

In  1952,  the  actress  appeared  in  Washington,  D.  C.  in  the  play 
"Tovarich."  The  theatre  was  picketed  by  the  American  Legion, 
and  the  picketing  (reported  in  Variety)  led  several  theatre  man- 
agers in  other  cities  to  cancel  the  play.  Again,  when  Miss  H. 
appeared  in  a  Theater  Guild  production,  there  were  protests.  The 
protests  did  not,  however,  affect  the  run  of  the  play  or  its  box-office. 

A  few  years  ago  it  was  announced  that  Miss  H.  was  going  to 
be  called  by  the  House  Committee  on  Un-American  Activities.  She 
was  subpoenaed  but  her  testimony  was  delayed  and  she  never  did 
appear.  The  Committee  offered  no  explanation.  Variety  referred 
to  the  incident  as  a  "current  Capitol  Hill  mystery." 

In  1954,  she  was  scheduled  to  speak  at  a  conference  at  the  Uni- 
versity of  Indiana.  This  appearance  was  cancelled  by  a  wire 
stating  as  the  reason,  "disturbing  political  publicity"  in  a  news- 

In  November  1954,  Miss  H.  was  involved  in  plans  to  star  on  a  tv 
dramatic  show.  A  short  time  before  rehearsals  got  under  way,  the 
producer  called  and  asked  her  to  withdraw  voluntarily.  His  office, 
the  producer  explained,  had  taken  some  chances  on  "risky  people," 
and  now  thought  it  best  to  "mark  time"  for  a  while.  He  assured 
Miss  H.  he  would  use  her  as  soon  as  things  let  up.  She  agreed  to 
withdraw,  but  there  were  no  more  calls  from  this  producer. 

Miss  H.  is  generally  recognized  as  one  of  America's  most  dis- 
tinguished actresses.  She  is  still  a  young  woman  but  is  largely 
cut  off  from  the  popular  media.  Lately  she  has  been  taking 
drama  students  and  employs  her  talents  by  coaching  lesser  actresses. 



K.L.  noticed  as  early  as  1947  that  he  had  not  worked  on  any 
BBD&O  shows  for  some  time.  He  phoned  a  friend  at  that  agency 
and  made  an  appointment  to  discuss  the  situation.  Over  the 
luncheon  table,  K.L.  was  told  he  could  not  be  used  because  some- 
one had  raised  the  question  of  his  affiliation,  in  1942,  with  the 
Artists'  Front  to  Win  the  War.  The  actor  investigated  and  found 
he  had  been  on  the  radio  the  night  that  organization's  only  New 
York  rally  was  held;  he  learned  too  that  he  had  never  given  the 
group  permission  to  use  his  name.  As  soon  as  he  discovered  these 
facts  about  himself  (until  he  checked  he  had  not  trusted  his 
memory),  K.L.  wrote  a  letter  to  the  director  of  the  BBD&O  radio 
series.  Shortly  after,  he  was  signed  for  a  BBD&O  show  but  re- 
ceived no  calls  from  the  agency  after  this  one  appearance.  Six 
months  later  he  wrote  to  BBD&O  again  and  succeeded  in  refuting 
certain  charges  on  file  at  the  agency.  Finally,  he  was  able  to  work 
on  BBD&O  shows  regularly. 

K.L.  was  not  listed  in  Red  Channels.  But  he  noticed  his  employ- 
ment was  falling  off  during  1950  and  part  of  '51,  after  Red  Chan- 
nels became  "the  Bible  of  Madison  Avenue."  Once  again  he  made 
an  appointment  to  see  a  director  at  a  big  agency.  He  was  told 
he  could  not  be  used  because  various  charges  against  him  had 
come  up  again.  As  a  result  of  this  talk,  K.L.  sent  a  letter  to  the 
agency,  stating  his  opposition  to  communism.  Then  an  agency 
executive  called  him  and  asked  why  he  felt  it  necessary  to  write 
such  a  letter.  K.L.  told  the  executive  of  the  anxiety  he  felt.  The 
executive  was  sympathetic.  Within  half  an  hour  the  actor  received 
a  call  from  the  agency  offering  him  a  job. 

In  1952,  one  of  the  agency  people  K.L.  dealt  with,  called  to 
suggest  he  cooperate  with  a  House  Committee  investigator  who 
was  in  New  York.  The  actor  agreed  to  see  the  investigator  and 
spent  some  time  with  him,  most  of  it  —  K.L.  says  — devoted  to 


straightening  out  misinformation  the  investigator  had  picked  up. 

At  a  dinner  party  in  1953  both  K.L.  and  a  network  television 
producer  were  guests.  The  talk  turned  to  blacklisting,  and  someone 
asked  the  producer  if  K.L.  was  "employable."  The  producer  said 
bluntly  that  he  couldn't  use  the  actor  on  his  network.  This  was 
the  first  indication  K.L.  had  that  he  was  still  "in  trouble."  Im- 
mediately, he  wrote  to  a  personal  friend  high  in  the  network  and 
asked  the  friend  to  check  on  the  story.  His  friend  assured  K.L. 
there  was  no  cause  for  worry;  the  only  reason  he  had  not  been 
used  on  the  network  was  because  more  actors  than  assignments 
were  available. 

A  year  passed  and  K.L.  still  had  not  worked  on  the  network.  He 
phoned  another  executive  friend,  and  a  conference  with  some  well 
known  "anti-Communists"  in  the  industry  was  arranged.  As  a 
result  of  the  conference,  K.L.  sent  "clearance"  letters  around  to  the 
proper  people,  was  granted  an  interview  with  a  network  executive 
in  charge  of  "clearances."  K.L.  is  now  "employable."  But  he  still 
feels  bitter  about  the  months  of  uncertainty  and  unemployment  he 
experienced  and  says  he  will  probably  never  feel  truly  secure  again. 


M.P.  came  to  his  network  after  blacklisting  was  institutionalized 
but  only  gradually  realized  what  was  going  on.  His  first  experience 
was  with  a  show  that  had  been  blasted  in  Counterattack.  At  one 
point,  Laurence  A.  Johnson  came  to  New  York  to  protest  against 
an  actor  who  had  been  used  on  this  show.  Johnson  contacted  the 
advertising  agency  and  sponsor;  they  referred  him  to  the  network, 
which  handled  hiring  for  the  particular  program,  but  the  pressure 
on  the  network  —  and  on  the  network  staff  —  came  primarily  from 
the  agency  and  sponsor,  not  from  Johnson  directly.  The  sponsor 
was  particularly  disturbed  that  the  Syracuse  grocer  might  campaign 
against  his  product.  He  demanded  that  the  network  mollify 


After  considerable  negotiations  with  Counterattack  and  Johnson, 
the  program  was  finally  "cleared."  But  as  a  result  of  its  difficulties, 
it  became  a  "tough"  show  in  terms  of  political  screening.  A  high 
network  official  took  a  special  interest  in  the  program  and  laid  down 
strict  requirements  for  every  actor  who  appeared  on  it.  The  director 
could  no  longer  assemble  his  casts  on  a  simple  merit  basis  but  had 
to  take  political  "screening"  into  account.  Yet  pains  were  taken 
to  keep  the  full  extent  of  this  screening  secret.  Though  the  director 
knew  he  could  not  hire  the  obviously  blacklisted  —  those  "listed" 
in  Red  Channels  or  Counterattack  —  he  did  not  know  that  others 
were  being  rejected  for  similar  reasons. 

At  this  time  the  network  used  the  term  "not  available"  in  two 
senses.  Sometimes  it  meant  an  actor  was  booked  up  for  a  certain 
date  and  was  actually  not  available  for  other  work.  But  it  could 
also  mean  that  he  had  been  screened  off  the  show  for  political 
reasons.  It  was  some  time  before  M.P.  realized  the  double  use  of 
the  term.  M.P.  finally  understood  what  was  happening  when  he 
was  told  that  an  actor  was  "not  available"  and  met  the  actor 
shortly  thereafter  only  to  find  he  was  desperate  for  work.  After 
this  M.P.  sought  out  actors,  checked  on  whether  they  were  avail- 
able, and  then  submitted  their  names  on  casting  lists.  Often,  the 
actors  whose  names  he  submitted  would  be  crossed  off  as  "not 
available."  At  first  the  director  did  not  believe  that  certain  people 
in  the  industry  knew  how  extensive  blacklisting  had  become,  and 
he  took  it  upon  himself  to  inform  them.  But  he  was  told  politely 
it  was  none  of  his  business.  If  he  had  any  sense  he'd  stay  out  of 
the  whole  mess,  one  executive  advised  him. 

Occasionally,  M.P.,  like  other  directors  at  the  network,  put  up 
a  fight  for  a  particular  performer,  arguing  that  he  was  necessary  for 
the  success  of  the  show.  But  they  fought  without  success. 

All  this,  M.P.  remembers,  was  carried  on  in  a  kind  of  Aesopian 
language  which  avoided  the  use  of  the  word  "blacklist."  Discus- 


sions  were  about  "availability,"  or  people  would  say,  "Is  he  clean?" 
"Is  he  o.k.?"  etc. 

Finally,  M .P.  says,  the  political  check  became  routinized.  There 
were  certain  offices  which  received  casting  lists,  certain  secretaries 
who  would  call  and  say  that  such  and  such  a  one  was  "not  avail- 
able." After  a  while  the  production  staff  gave  up  resisting.  They 
realized  it  was  useless,  for  the  blacklisting  policy  had  been  set  at 
the  top  level  of  the  network. 


In  1952,  V.F.  ran  on  an  independent  ticket  hi  Equity.  As  a 
result  of  this,  he  says,  his  tv  employment  was  largely  cut  off.  Inter- 
estingly enough,  throughout  the  period  of  his  blacklisting,  roughly 
during  1952,  '53  and  part  of  '54,  he  was  used  on  one  major  net- 
work show. 

When  he  came  into  Equity,  V.F.  found  the  Communist  issue  had 
caused  bitter  factional  dissension  on  the  Council.  At  one  point, 
he  actively  fought  the  imputation  of  "pro-Communist"  sympathies 
which  some  brought  against  the  "liberal"  bloc  in  the  union.  He  did 
this  on  the  basis  of  voting  records.  He  himself  often  voted  "con- 
servatively." At  the  same  time  he  was  being  attacked  from  the 
right  for  harboring  "pro-Communist"  sympathies,  the  left  wing  was 
annoyed  by  many  of  the  positions  he  took. 

Finally,  toward  the  end  of  1954,  V.F.  noticed  a  change  in  the 
atmosphere.  He  began  to  get  calls  for  work  on  shows  which  had 
not  used  him  for  over  two  years,  though  he  had  taken  no  steps  to 
clear  himself.  V.F.  believes  the  change  was  a  result  of  someone's 
taking  an  interest  in  his  case  without  telling  him  about  it.  Since, 
over  the  years,  he  had  made  many  anti-Communist  statements  on 
the  union  floor,  he  feels  that  even  the  most  cursory  of  checks 
would  have  revealed  that  there  was  really  no  basis  for  blacklisting 
him  as  a  "pro-Communist." 

After  he  was  cleared,  V.F.  learned  that  rumors  he  was  a  Com- 


munist  were  still  being  circulated,  but  apparently  these  reports  did 
not  affect  his  employment.  He  is  now  employable  throughout  the 


Before  Red  Channels,  J.R.  had  built  up  a  considerable  reputa- 
tion in  television.  Even  after  Red  Channels  appeared,  he  was 
hired  by  one  of  the  largest  packagers  and  given  important  duties 
(his  name  was  not  listed  in  the  book).  J.R.'s  first  task  was  to 
prepare  a  pilot  kinescope  for  a  new  show.  He  did  this  using  two 
actors  who  had  been  listed  in  Red  Channels.  The  kinescope  was 
successful,  but  when  the  first  show  of  the  series  came  up  —  it  was 
a  repeat  of  the  pilot  —  he  was  told  he  could  not  use  the  actors. 
The  packager's  office  was  disturbed  about  this  directive  but  placed 
the  blame  on  the  advertising  agency  handling  the  show. 

The  show  ran  for  13  weeks.  During  this  period,  the  director 
hired  people  listed  in  Red  Channels  and  others  who  were  later 
blacklisted.  This  was  in  1951.  The  same  year,  he  did  another  show 
using  two  people  who  had  been  accused  of  "pro-Communist" 
sympathies.  At  a  conference,  an  agency  man  gave  him  a  copy  of 
Red  Channels  and  told  him  to  be  careful  about  hiring  the  people 
"listed"  in  it.  But  there  was  no  attempt  to  fire  the  performers  he 
had  scheduled  for  the  show. 

In  the  fall  of  1951,  the  director  returned  to  work  for  the  same 
packager.  Red  Channels  by  this  time  was  being  taken  more 
seriously  —  no  one  "listed"  in  it  could  be  hired.  Final  approval  of 
casting  lists  had  also  been  switched  to  the  front  office  in  order  to 
insure  that  no  one  politically  suspect  would  get  on  the  air.  At  the 
very  time  that  this  was  happening,  an  agency  representative  told  J.R. 
that  there  was  no  blacklisting  on  his  agency's  shows.  But  when  the 
director  announced  his  intention  of  using  a  certain  actor,  the  same 
agency  man  told  him  he  could  not  because  of  "pressure." 

In  the  winter  of  1952,  J.R.  found  that  the  list  of  "unemploy- 


ables"  was  expanding.  Red  Channels  was  no  longer  the  sole  source 
of  information.  Many  people  who  were  not  listed  in  that  book 
were  nonetheless  "unavailable"  for  work. 

The  director  even  learned  that  accusations  were  being  made 
against  him.  Some  of  the  shows  he  had  directed  in  the  past  were 
charged  against  him.  Laurence  Johnson  intervened  directly.  John- 
son contacted  the  sponsor  of  one  of  the  shows  this  director  was 
working  on.  At  first  the  company  felt  that  the  director  was  "de- 
fensible" and  decided  to  ignore  the  charges.  But  later  they 
changed  their  position  and  the  director's  future  became  doubtful. 

Earlier,  J.R.  had  been  offered  a  job  at  one  of  the  major  net- 
works. In  view  of  his  uncertain  status,  he  decided  to  take  it.  The 
contract  was  signed  in  the  spring  of  1952.  A  loyalty  oath  was 
sent  to  J.R.  and  he  signed  it.  But  after  this,  he  was  called  into  the 
office  of  a  network  executive  who  confronted  him  with  a  series  of 
charges.  The  director  felt  the  executive  was  anticipating  trouble. 
During  one  of  their  interviews,  the  executive  pointed  to  Elia 
Kazan's  ad  in  The  New  York  Times  repudiating  his  past  political 
associations  and  told  J.R.:  "Well,  that's  one  way." 

Shortly  after  these  discussions,  the  director  was  fired.  For  a 
while,  he  continued  to  get  phone  calls  about  work,  but  the  deals 
always  fell  through. 

For  some  time  now,  he  has  been  unable  to  work  in  the  industry 
under  his  own  name.  From  time  to  time,  he  has  helped  in  the 
preparation  of  shows  but  receives  no  credit  and  is  personally  paid 
by  the  producer.  In  1951,  the  director's  income  from  television  was 
$35,000;  in  1952,  $12,000  for  television  and  all  other  work;  in 
1953,  between  $8,000  and  $9,000. 


Miss  K.,  an  actors'  agent,  feels  that  one  of  the  main  problems  is 
the  psychological  impact  blacklisting  has  on  her  clients.  Fear,  she 
feels,  produces  uncertainty  and  inhibits  the  actor  in  his  work. 


Thus,  even  if  she  is  finally  able  to  place  a  blacklisted  performer, 
psychological  difficulties  arise. 

There  are  often  rumors  about  clients.  The  agency  cannot  track 
each  of  them  down,  but  if  they  become  persistent,  the  agent  has 
to  check  to  find  out  if  her  client  is  indeed  blacklisted.  This  is 
done  informally,  through  personal  contacts,  and  the  information 
given  is  rarely  straightforward.  Generally,  Miss  K.  has  nothing 
but  hints  and  innuendos  to  go  on. 

In  some  cases,  a  producer  will  call  an  agency  and  ask  for  a  "star," 
describing  the  kind  of  person  he  wants.  When  no  particular  per- 
former is  named,  the  agent  can  test  a  client's  acceptability  by  sub- 
mitting his  name. 

Miss  K.  has  found  a  tendency  on  the  part  of  some  performers 
to  claim  they  have  been  blacklisted  when  the  real  reason  for  their 
unemployability  lies  in  lack  of  talent,  advanced  age,  etc.  In  sev- 
eral cases,  she  has  tried  to  help  performers  get  a  more  realistic 
picture  of  their  situation  and  has  succeeded  in  convincing  them  that 
they  are  not  blacklisted. 

The  agent  is  willy-nilly  involved  in  the  problem  of  "clearance," 
Miss  K.  points  out.  If  a  client  cannot  work,  the  agent  may  check 
around  to  see  what  can  be  done  for  him.  Miss  K.,  for  example, 
helped  one  actor  get  an  engagement  from  a  veterans  group,  and  this 
ultimately  facilitated  his  being  cleared.  She  feels  that  her  most 
important  duty  is  to  help  her  blacklisted  clients  weather  their  bad 
period  without  letting  go  of  their  artistic  ambitions. 


Blacklisting,  according  to  W.Z.,  a  Communist  sympathizer,  is 
really  an  attack  on  New  Deal  values.  During  the  period  of  the 
New  Deal,  W.Z.  says,  actors  and  writers,  along  with  the  whole 
entertainment  world,  were  engaged  in  creative  and  "socially  con- 
scious" work.  Unions  grew  up.  There  was  an  alliance  on  the  part 
of  theatrical  people  with  the  "progressive"  forces  in  society.  This 


continued  throughout  World  War  II,  when  the  industry  made  a 
considerable  contribution  to  the  war  effort.  W.Z.  claims  that  many 
have  been  blacklisted  as  a  "punishment"  for  their  activity  in  this 
"New  Deal  movement."  He  does  not  specifically  mention  Commu- 
nists as  being  among  them. 

The  motives  of  the  pro-blacklisting  faction,  W.Z.  holds,  are 
union-busting,  anti-New  Dealism  and  reaction  in  general.  In  cer- 
tain cases,  these  motives  are  linked  with  racism  —  anti-Semitism, 
and  hostility  against  the  Negro  performer  —  so  that  the  blacklisting 
movement  actually  verges  on  fascism.  Many  of  those  who  had 
once  been  on  the  side  of  the  "progressive"  forces  capitulated  and 
went  over  to  Senator  McCarthy  when  the  national  mood  changed, 
W.Z.  claims  bitterly. 

However,  W.Z.  is  fairly  tolerant  of  the  businessmen  who  actually 
run  the  industry.  He  feels  that  they  are  reacting  out  of  confusion 
and  a  desire  to  retain  their  jobs  and  positions.  They  are  not  as 
reprehensible  as  the  artists  who  have  gone  through  "clearance" 
and  now  actively  oppose  "liberalism"  and  "democracy."  W.Z. 
reserves  his  utmost  scorn  for  those  who  have  cleared  themselves. 

Blacklisting,  W.Z.  insists,  has  crippled  artistic  inventiveness. 
The  shows  produced  today  do  not  have  the  "creative  social  con- 
science" they  had  before  political  screening  got  under  way.  Writers, 
producers,  actors  and  directors  no  longer  have  general  artistic 
discussions,  he  claims.  "Political  conformism"  has  entered  every 
corner  of  the  industry  and  made  meaningful  exchange  impossible. 
Suspicion  lurks  in  every  office  on  Madison  Avenue. 

W.Z.  is  pessimistic.  He  feels  blacklisting  will  be  brought  to  an 
end  only  when  there  is  a  massive  political  shift  within  the  United 
States,  i.e.,  when  there  is  a  general  resurgence  of  the  "progressive 
forces"  which,  according  to  him,  pervaded  the  Thirties.  Until  this 
happens,  W.Z.  says,  he  will  be  blacklisted,  though  others,  against 
whom  the  charges  are  not  so  extensive,  may  find  their  way  back  to 
work.  W.Z.  is  convinced  the  threat  to  his  personal  values  will 


disappear  only  when  it  is  possible  for  a  show  to  go  on  the  air  with 
a  whole  group  of  people  listed  in  Red  Channels. 

W.Z.  has  been  totally  blacklisted  for  over  four  years.  He  had 
been  a  successful  and  well-paid  employee  of  the  industry  and  took 
an  active  part  in  union  affairs.  (His  views,  as  might  be  expected, 
are  a  faithful  recording  of  the  official  Communist  Party  line  on 


N.R.  produced  a  series  written  by  a  man  who  was  eventually 
listed  in  Red  Channels.  After  Red  Channels  was  published,  protests 
came  in,  among  them  an  angry  one  from  an  American  Legion 
group.  The  sponsor  was  deeply  upset. 

For  a  while,  after  Red  Channels,  there  was  chaos  in  the  industry, 
N.R.  says.  Actors  were  turned  down  "almost  at  random."  No 
reason  was  given.  Some  clearances  did  not  come  in  until  the 
very  last  minute  —  in  one  case  a  "non-clearance"  did  not  arrive 
until  after  the  person  had  been  on  the  air,  and  this  precipitated  a 
crisis.  There  was  a  feeling  at  the  time,  N.R.  says,  that  there  was 
no  logic  in  what  was  happening.  "It  was  out  of  Kafka."  But  after 
a  time,  things  settled  down.  Procedures  were  worked  out  and 
blacklisting  was  run  like  a  well-oiled  machine. 

The  production-office  people  would  submit  the  casting  list  to 
a  person  at  the  agency  whose  identity  they  did  not  know.  Some- 
time later,  they  would  receive  a  phone  call  and  the  names  would 
be  read  back  with  a  "yes"  or  "no"  check.  Because  of  the  problems 
involved  in  the  "no's,"  the  producers  took  the  precaution  of  send- 
ing in  many  more  names  than  they  could  use.  In  this  way  they 
hoped  to  assemble  the  full  casts  they  needed.  In  the  case  of  talented 
people  they  wanted  to  use,  they  would  frequently  re-submit  names 
to  see  if  things  had  changed. 

NBC,  according  to  N.R.,  began  with  the  most  contradictory 
screening  process.  For  a  time,  executives  at  the  network  simply 


ignored  calls  dealing  with  blacklisting.  Finally  the  network  or- 
ganized its  "screening"  on  a  more  stable  basis.  The  job  was 
given  to  the  legal  department.  Now  when  a  call  comes  hi  from 
a  production  staff,  a  dossier,  containing  only  derogatory  informa- 
tion, is  sent  to  the  producer.  If  the  charges  are  fairly  foolish,  it  is 
possible  to  use  the  person,  although  this  can  be  done  only  after 
consultation  with  an  executive.  The  NBC  legal  department  is 
willing  to  discuss  its  operation  and  can  be  convinced  to  take  a 

Some  pro-blacklisting  elements  in  the  industry,  N.R.  believes, 
have  become  politicized  to  such  an  extent  that  they  constitute  a 
nuisance.  They  are  forever  circulating  petitions,  arguing,  even 
checking  on  their  co-workers.  As  a  result,  producers  are  reluctant 
to  hire  them.  This,  he  emphasizes,  is  not  because  of  their  politics 
per  se  —  others  who  agree  with  them  have  no  employment  prob- 
lem —  but  results  from  the  manner  in  which  they  put  forth  their 
politics.  Ironically,  their  militant  crusade  to  screen  "controversial" 
talent  out  of  the  industry  has  made  them  "controversial"  themselves. 


Miss  B.  is  the  sister  of  a  leading  movie  star.  Her  own  career 
got  under  way  in  the  late  Forties.  Before  1950,  Miss  B.  was  in 
demand  on  television.  But  during  this  period  she  was  appearing 
on  Broadway  in  a  hit  play  and  did  not  accept  much  outside  work. 
She  was  generally  considered  a  promising  young  actress. 

In  the  fall  of  1950,  Miss  B.  began  to  believe  she  was  blacklisted. 
She  made  the  Madison  Avenue  rounds,  saw  people,  talked  with  her 
agents,  but  to  no  avail.  She  could  find  no  work.  At  this  time,  she 
received  a  phone  call  from  a  friend  who  told  her  she  had  been  black- 
listed. She  checked  with  a  writer  working  on  a  major  television 
show.  He  also  reported  she  was  blacklisted,  as  did  two  producer 
friends.  All  of  them  assumed  that  she  was  "unemployable"  on 
CBS  shows. 


Miss  B.'s  attempts  to  get  in  touch  with  various  network  people 
were  futile.  She  was  told,  "He's  not  in,"  or  her  phone  calls  simply 
went  unanswered.  She  contacted  her  agents  but  they  could  not 
suggest  anything.  Most  of  her  advisers  simply  told  her  to  wait 
until  the  whole  thing  blew  over. 

The  actress  searched  her  memory  to  discover  what  might  have 
led  to  her  being  blacklisted.  She  recalled  she  had  agreed  to  sponsor 
the  Waldorf  Peace  Conference.  At  the  time  the  Conference  was 
held,  she  was  working  in  her  first  big  Broadway  play.  She  says  she 
was  flattered  that  anybody  would  want  her  name  and  that  many 
of  her  friends  were  signing  the  letter  of  sponsorship,  so  she  signed. 
During  the  same  period,  she  was  active  in  organizing  opposition  to 
a  quiz  show  which  featured  young  Broadway  actors  and  actresses 
and  paid  them  with  $10  and  a  watch.  Miss  B.  felt  that  the  young 
performers  were  being  exploited,  and  the  talent  union  officers 
agreed  with  her.  The  protests  were  so  effective,  the  program  went 
off  the  air.  She  wondered  if  this,  too,  could  have  contributed  to 
her  being  blacklisted  as  a  "troublemaker." 

Soon  after  Miss  B.  learned  she  was  blacklisted,  she  stopped 
working  in  order  to  have  a  baby.  She  did  not  look  for  work  again 
until  late  in  1952  and  then  found  she  was  still  unable  to  get  em- 
ployment on  television.  However,  in  February,  1953,  she  received 
a  call  for  a  movie  part.  She  signed  a  contract  and  sent  a  letter  to 
the  studio  which  "explained"  her  sponsorship  of  the  Waldorf  Peace 
Conference  and  denied  she  was  ever  a  member  of  a  subversive 
organization.  The  studio  was  evidently  satisfied,  for  she  worked 
in  two  pictures  that  year. 

When  Miss  J5.'s  first  movie  was  released,  there  was  considerable 
publicity.  She  appeared  as  a  guest  on  a  number  of  television  shows 
but  still  failed  to  get  an  acting  job  on  tv.  In  1954,  Miss  B.  went  to 
Hollywood  and  made  another  movie.  When  she  returned  to  New 
York,  she  made  further  attempts  to  find  tv  work,  but  they  were 
fruitless.  Finally,  she  decided  to  take  the  bull  by  the  horns.  She 


made  an  appointment  with  Alfred  Berry,  "security  officer"  at  CBS. 

In  the  conversation  with  Berry,  the  word  "blacklist"  was  not 
used.  They  spoke  of  "unavailability."  Berry  talked  to  her  about 
the  need  CBS  had  to  protect  itself.  When  Miss  B.  told  him  about 
her  letter  to  the  movie  studio,  he  said  he  would  check  on  it. 

At  a  later  meeting,  the  actress  was  told  that  four  items  were  held 
against  her:  she  had  sponsored  the  Waldorf  Peace  Conference;  she 
was  reported  in  the  Daily  Worker  as  having  attended  an  American 
Labor  Party  ball;  she  was  a  sponsor  of  a  pro-Communist  meeting 
in  Mexico  City;  and  she  had  signed  the  Willie  McGee  petition. 
She  asked  what  she  could  do  to  clear  herself  of  these  charges. 
Berry  suggested  that  she  see  someone  from  the  American  Legion. 

Berry  also  suggested  that  she  make  some  public  anti-Communist 
statements  and  associate  herself  with  a  few  anti-Communist 
"causes."  She  need  not  interpret  this,  he  assured  her,  as  meaning 
far  right-wing  groups.  After  this,  Miss  B.  went  to  a  prominent 
attorney.  Under  his  direction,  she  wrote  a  letter  "explaining"  the 
associations  which  got  her  "in  trouble." 

Miss  B.'s  efforts  have  had  some  success.  She  has  appeared  on 
sponsored  television  shows  and  her  "explanations"  have  apparently 
been  accepted.  However,  the  most  important  period  in  her  career 
was  lost.  At  a  point  when  she  might  rightfully  have  expected  to 
land  major  roles,  she  was  "unemployable"  because  of  the  four 
charges  against  her. 


F.T.  has  played  in  several  important  movies.  He  also  has  a 
long  background  in  radio,  and  worked  on  television  in  its  early  days. 
In  the  spring  of  1952,  F.T.  finished  a  picture  in  Hollywood.  Im- 
mediately after  this,  he  was  replaced  in  a  forthcoming  role  by  some- 
one else.  He  had  a  conversation  with  an  executive  at  the  studio 
who  asked  him  pointblank,  "Are  you  a  Communist?"  F.T.  told  the 
executive  he  wasn't.  The  executive  then  told  the  actor  that  the 


American  Legion  Post  #41  in  Syracuse,  New  York,  was  "after" 
him.  He  mentioned  a  whole  series  of  charges,  and  predicted  a 
bleak  prospect  for  future  employment  unless  F.T.  cleared  himself. 

Back  in  New  York,  F.T.  found  a  part  in  a  Broadway  play  but 
got  no  television  work.  A  friend  of  his  who  had  been  "in  trouble" 
and  cleared  himself  offered  to  put  him  in  touch  with  George 
Sokolsky.  The  actor  accepted  the  offer,  but  nothing  came  of  it. 
Later  some  films  he  had  made  prior  to  getting  in  trouble  were 
shown  on  television,  and  there  were  more  attacks  from  Syracuse. 

During  the  next  few  years,  F.T.  could  not  work  on  television. 
Once,  he  was  reading  for  a  part  with  a  CBS  director  when  another 
director  came  in.  The  second  director  realized  the  mistake  the 
first  was  making  and  told  the  actor  he  was  "too  good  for  the  part." 
He  was  not  hired.  By  this  time,  F.T.  decided  it  was  necessary  to 
clear  himself  with  CBS.  He  went,  unannounced,  to  Daniel  O'Shea's 
office,  was  directed  to  Alfred  Berry,  and  discussed  his  problem 

Berry  based  the  network's  case  against  F.T.  on  charges  found 
in  Counterattack  and  the  Firing  Line.  He  mentioned  the  actor's 
work  at  an  off-Broadway  theatre,  his  appearance  at  the  funeral  of 
J.  Edward  Bromberg,*  his  signing  the  Willie  McGee  petition,  and 
detailed  a  charge  which  the  actor  denied.  When  he  was  finally 
convinced  that  F.T.  was  not  a  Communist,  Berry  asked  him  for  a 
"letter."  He  explained  that  the  network  had  to  have  one  on  file  in 
order  to  defend  F.T.  if  pressure  started  again. 

F.T.  said  he  was  fearful  of  some  of  his  off-Broadway  connec- 
tions. Many  blacklisted  writers,  actors  and  directors  have  taken  to 
the  off-Broadway  stage.  In  some  cases,  association  with  people 
in  these  productions,  or  appearance  in  a  play  with  a  political  line, 
has  turned  up  later  in  a  dossier  or  has  been  used  as  a  charge  in  one 

*  Bromberg,  a  prominent  actor  in  both  Hollywood  and  New  York,  was  listed  in 
Red  Channels. 


of  the  anti-Communist  newsletters.    Because  of  this,  FT.  now 
hesitates  to  take  certain  jobs. 

Even  though  F.T.  does  not  appear  on  television,  he  had  a 
major  network  radio  role  in  1955.  His  experience  is  similar  to 
that  of  other  blacklisted  actors  who  have  discovered  that  they  can 
get  a  job  on  a  radio  show  though  they  are  barred  from  employment 
at  the  same  network's  television  studios.  However,  at  the  present 
time,  F.TVs  income  is  far  below  his  pre-1952  earnings  and  he  has 
no  immediate  prospect  of  finding  work. 


One  of  the  top  journalists  in  the  radio-television  field  gave  his 
impressions  of  the  blacklisting  problem.  This  is  how  he  saw  it: 

To  begin  with,  he  said,  one  must  understand  the  actor.  Before 
the  New  Deal,  actors  were  notoriously  apathetic  about  politics. 
When  they  got  "political"  in  the  Thirties,  they  were  naive  and 
believed  they  could  "sound  off'  with  no  consequences.  Red  Chan- 
nels, the  journalist  remarked,  is  a  book  listing  the  most  gregarious 
people  in  the  industry,  the  joiners,  much  more  than  it  is  a  compila- 
tion of  actual  Communists. 

There  was,  he  says,  no  Communist  propaganda  on  radio  and 
there  is  none  on  television.  In  the  course  of  producing  a  script,  it 
is  checked  for  conformity  to  network  policy,  it  goes  through  script 
editors,  continuity  acceptance,  etc.  Even  during  the  war,  there 
were  people  in  the  industry  who  were  conscious  of  the  Communist 
Party  line  and  watched  out  for  propaganda.  Interestingly  enough, 
he  points  out,  many  of  the  shows  produced  during  the  war  with 
themes  that  would  now  be  considered  too  hot  to  handle  were 
initiated  by  the  Advertising  Council. 

The  McCarran  report  on  communism  in  the  radio-tv  unions, 
this  journalist  feels,  completely  oversimplified  a  complex  situation. 
The  actual  Communist  membership  in  the  industry  was  always 
small;  the  real  battle  was  between  "conservatives"  and  "liberals." 


He  considers  the  Report  a  "pretty  dirty  piece  of  work"  which 
omitted  much  of  the  information  necessary  to  an  understanding 
of  the  problem.  He  feels  that  some  of  those  most  vociferous  in  the 
industry  in  charging  various  people  with  "communism"  are  lacking 
in  talent  and  have  taken  this  means  to  express  their  frustration. 

CBS,  he  said,  got  into  trouble  because  of  its  relatively  low-budget 
operation.  Unable  to  match  the  tremendous  financial  resources  of 
NBC,  CBS  relied  on  "brains,"  specifically  through  an  emphasis 
on  documentaries  and  social  themes.  When  radio-tv  blacklisting 
began,  CBS  had  the  greatest  number  of  people  "in  trouble"  —  and, 
as  a  result,  CBS  set  up  the  most  drastic  network  security  program. 

From  the  point  of  view  of  radio-tv  columnists,  the  journalist 
said,  blacklisting  has  been  a  frustrating  story.  Performers  frequently 
come  to  newspaper  columnists  with  accounts  of  their  experiences, 
but  then,  almost  to  a  man,  demand  anonymity.  Because  of  this, 
the  writer  is  unable  to  report  their  cases,  and  a  situation  which 
everyone  hi  the  industry  knows  about,  never  gets  a  public  airing. 

Finally,  this  journalist  believes  that  the  pressure  is  lifting  some- 
what; a  few  sponsors  and  network  shows  have  become  more  coura- 
geous, and  the  whole  industry  is  simply  becoming  "bored"  with 
blacklisting.  Unless  a  new  case  comes  along  to  make  the  argument 
for  blacklisting  more  plausible,  the  practice  has  already  reached  its 
peak,  he  feels. 


K.Y.  is  a  top  star  in  all  the  entertainment  media.  He  learned 
indirectly  that  he  was  "in  trouble"  at  the  major  networks  and  lead- 
ing advertising  agencies  and  determined  to  do  something  about  it. 
The  "security  officer"  at  CBS  provided  K.Y.  with  the  list  of 
"charges"  against  him  which  that  network  had  on  file. 

The  following  charges  had  been  filed: 
1.  He  had  been  on  the  executive  board  of  the  Actors'  Lab.    (True. 

He  was  a  member  "very  briefly.") 


2.  He  had  performed  in  a  show  sponsored  by  the  Hollywood  Inde- 
pendent Citizens  Committee  of  the  Arts,  Sciences  and  Profes- 
sions.  (Absolutely  false.  K.Y.  never  heard  of  such  a  show.  He 
checked  the  cast  list  for  the  show  in  Variety.  His  name  did  not 
appear. ) 

3.  Identified  by  a  government  witness  as  having  attended  meetings 
of  the  same  organization.  (False.  K.Y.  never  attended  a  meeting 
of  the  organization  in  his  life.) 

4.  Spoke  for  continuing  1945  movie  strike  and  defended  Herbert 
Sorrell.   Prominent  member  of  the  Motion  Picture  Alliance  for 
the  Preservation  of  American  Ideals  was  cited  as  authority.  (Ab- 
solutely false.    K.Y.  was  involved  in  a  movement  to  end  the 

5.  Signed  full-page  ad  against  the  Parnell  Thomas  investigation  of 
Hollywood.   (Absolutely  false.  K.Y.  checked  the  ad.  His  name 
was  not  listed.) 

6.  Not  listed  in  Appendix  IX.  Name  appears  in  Myron  Pagan's  Red 
Stars  Over  Hollywood.  (K.Y.  did  not  understand  the  reference. ) 

7.  Participated  in  Thought  Control  Conference  held  by  Hollywood 
Arts,  Sciences  and  Professions  Council  in  1947.    (Absolutely 
false.  K.Y.  took  no  part  in  the  Conference  and  had  nothing  to 
do  with  the  organization. ) 

K.Y.  kept  a  diary: 

Sunday:  Saw  network  head.  He  asked  me  to  continue  program  into 
next  season. 

Monday:  Told  I  cannot  be  cleared  by  advertising  agency.  Show  is  in 
difficulty  .  .  .  Dinner  with  friends.  They  say  they've  known  about 
the  situation  for  two  or  three  months  but  did  not  want  to  worry  me. 
Told  me  some  of  the  charges  against  me. 

Monday:    (A  week  later)  Show  attacked  in  Hearst  paper. 

Wednesday:  Learned  the  name  of  the  "clearance"  man  at  the  adver- 
tising agency. 

Thursday:  Network  gets  nine  calls  about  the  show.  Five  are  favorable; 


four  complaints.  Program  is  described  as  "pink,"  "too  much  political 
innuendo,"  and  "cleverly  concealed  Communist  propaganda."  First 
time  any  such  comments  have  come  in.  Network  — and  I  — both 
believe  they  are  a  direct  result  of  the  story  in  Hearst  paper. 
Sunday:  Show  cannot  get  sponsor  for  next  season.  Negotiations  for 
two  other  shows  collapse  completely. 

After  K.Y.,  armed  with  his  rebuttal,  started  to  make  the  "clear- 
ance" rounds,  he  reported  in  his  diary: 

Monday:  Meeting  with  "clearance"  man  at  advertising  agency.  He 
assures  me  that  the  agency  does  not  consider  me  subversive.  He 
will  see  what  they  can  do  about  putting  me  on  one  of  their  "prestige" 
shows.  These  shows  less  susceptible  to  pressure  groups. 

Tuesday:  Meeting  with  executive  at  the  "other"  network.  They  made 
a  check  last  summer  and  are  satisfied  that  there  is  nothing  to  the 
charges  against  me.  Executive  suggested  meeting  with  another 
agency  "clearance"  man  .  .  .  Still  another  agency  "clearance"  man 
called  to  say  he  had  read  my  statement  and  checked  with  the  top 
"clearance"  man  on  Madison  Avenue.  They  too  are  satisfied  now. 
But  one  sponsor  —  who  supposedly  uses  Hartnett's  services  —  is  still 
holding  out. 

Wednesday:  Met  with  an  agency  "clearance"  man  for  a  general  dis- 
cussion of  "the  problem."  No  more  trouble  at  that  agency,  he 
assures  me. 

Thursday:  Got  an  offer  through  the  agency  I  visited  yesterday.  They've 
really  had  a  change  of  heart.  I  was  turned  down  for  this  very  show 
not  more  than  a  month  ago. 

Friday:  Yet  another  agency  "clearance"  man  wants  a  copy  of  my 
statement  and  answer  to  the  charges.  Guess  I'm  "clear"  now. 


Industry  Viewpoints 


A  DETAILED  QUESTIONNAIRE*  was  sent  to  leading  networks,  spon- 
sors, advertising  agencies  and  actors'  agents.  Many  did  not  reply. 
The  following  statements  represent  a  cross-section  of  the  industry 
viewpoints  elicited  by  the  questions. 

We  would  never  knowingly  engage  a  Communist  for  any  of  our 
radio  or  television  programs.  Also,  we  would  never  knowingly  engage 
anyone  who  aids  either  directly  or  indirectly  the  Communist  cause.  We 
carry  out  this  policy  in  the  employment  of  literally  thousands  of  people 
in  connection  with  our  radio  and  television  programs  .  .  . 

From  a  statement  of  policy  issued  by  the 

Procter  and  Gamble  Company 

Our  company  would  not,  knowingly,  lend  aid  or  moral  support  to 
persons  who  subscribe  to  subversive  teachings.  Where  subversive  guilt 
is  clearly  established,  we  would  have  no  hesitancy  in  refusing  to  hire 
the  guilty  party,  but  we  would  be  running  contrary  to  one  of  our 
country's  most  ancient  and  noble  traditions  —  i.e.  that  a  person  is  inno- 
cent until  proven  guilty,  if  we,  as  a  private  concern,  assume  to  set 
ourselves  up  as  judge  and  jury  and  pass  sentence  on  persons  who  sub- 
sequently might  be  proven  innocent. 

From  a  policy  statement  issued  by  the 
Jos.  Schlitz  Brewing  Company,  Milwaukee 

We  buy  "Studio  One"  as  a  package  from  CBS  through  our  agency, 
McCann-Erikson.  These  two  businesses,  as  well  as  all  of  us  at  West- 

*  See  Appendix. 


inghouse,  have  a  great  stake  in  our  capitalistic  society.  It  is  therefore 
in  our  own  best  interests  never  to  engage  in  any  activities  that  would 
jeopardize  the  free  enterprise  system. 

Like  any  large  corporation  in  America,  we  are  interested  in  making 
sure  we  have  no  Communists  or  subversives  on  our  programs.  We 
expect  CBS  to  screen  as  closely  as  possible  to  make  certain  we  do  not 
use  anybody  who  has  been  proved  to  be  Communistic  or  a  Communist 

L.  W.  Scott,  Advertising  Manager, 

Consumer  Products, 

Westinghouse  Electric  Corporation,  Pittsburgh,  Pa. 

We  would  not  give  employment  to  anyone  who  advocates  the  force- 
ful overthrow  of  the  United  States  Government  or  conspires  against  it. 
We  would  not,  of  course,  base  our  decision  on  unsupported  charges 
from  private  sources,  but  we  would  heed  the  findings  of  authorized 
Government  agencies.  Thus,  we  would  not  knowingly  employ,  in  any 
capacity,  anyone  who  has  been  officially  designated  as  subversive.  This 
applies  generally  to  our  employment  practices,  and  it  is  immaterial 
whether  or  not  the  applicant  is  in  the  entertainment  field. 

C.  J.  Backstrand,  President, 
Armstrong  Cork  Company,  Lancaster,  Pa. 

Our  company  takes  an  active  interest  in  the  selection  of  talent 
appearing  on  its  radio  and  television  shows,  but,  of  course,  depends 
heavily  on  its  advertising  agency  to  determine  the  qualifications  and 
public  acceptance  of  such  talent.  If  our  agency  has  no  doubt  about 
the  talent  to  be  used  in  a  particular  show,  we  usually  concur  in  its 
recommendation.  If  there  is  doubt,  we  usually  make  an  investigation 
on  our  own.  If  such  talent  is  shown  to  be  affiliated  with  the  Communist 
Party,  or  an  organization  opposed  to  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States,  we  simply  do  not  employ  or  retain  them. 

D.  W.  Stewart,  Manager, 

Advertising  Division,  The  Texas  Company 
(Texaco  Petroleum  Products),  New  York 

We  would  certainly  look  with  disfavor  upon  the  appearance  on  a 
Dow  program  of  any  person  so  controversial  as  to  place  us  in  a  ques- 
tionable light  by  association.  Similarly,  we  would  be  displeased  with 
any  other  action  on  the  part  of  producers,  such  as  the  inclusion  of 


material  in  poor  taste,  which  would  be  embarrassing  to  our  company. 
Naturally  also  we  would  not  wish  to  be  party  to  giving  aid  and  comfort 
to  any  known  Communist,  but  would  recognize  that  accusation  and 
established  evidence  are  two  different  things. 

Leland  I.  Doan,  President, 

The  Dow  Chemical  Company 

We  have  no  policy  as  such  in  connection  with  the  employment  of 
artists  for  radio  and  tv  programs  sponsored  by  us  ...  The  determination 
as  to  the  employment  of  the  artist  is  made  on  an  individual  basis  .  .  . 
any  answers  to  specific  questions  or  general  comment  would  be  theoreti- 
cal. Frankly,  we  do  not  care  to  speculate  on  such  matters. 

Anthony  DeLorenzo,  Director, 

Radio  and  TV  Relations, 

General  Motors  Corp.,  Detroit 

Not  merely  in  its  radio  and  television  advertising,  but  throughout  its 
organization,  Lever  Brothers  Company  strives  to  secure  the  services  of 
men  and  women  of  ability  and  good  character.  It  is  not  merely  a  ques- 
tion of  avoiding  undesirable  elements,  it  is  much  more  a  matter  of 
choosing  as  its  representatives  the  finest  individuals  possible.    In  this 
policy,  Lever  Brothers  Company  is  motivated  not  only  by  a  decent 
regard  for  public  opinion,  and  by  a  desire  to  have  its  name  remain 
unsullied,  but  even  more  by  conviction  that  it  is  in  business  not  only 
to  make  a  profit  but  also  to  contribute  its  share  to  the  common  good. 
M.  J.  Roche,  General  Manager, 
Promotion  and  Advertising  Service  Division, 
Lever  Brothers  Company,  New  York  City 

When  a  company  such  as  ours  uses  its  corporate  funds  to  sponsor 
a  program  on  television  or  radio,  it  does  so  with  but  one  purpose,  —  to 
reach  the  largest  possible  number  of  the  public  as  its  audience,  and  to 
present  its  product  to  that  audience  in  the  most  favorable  light  .  .  . 
Since  it  is  the  function  of  an  artist  employed  on  such  programs  to 
please  rather  than  to  displease,  and  since  the  successful  promotion  of 
consumer  goods  depends  in  large  measure  on  the  impression  left  by 
sponsored  entertainment,  it  follows  that  we  would  be  wasting  share- 
holders' funds  were  we  to  employ  artists  or  other  persons  who,  under 
company  auspices,  are  likely  to  offend  the  public  .  .  .  We  would  dis- 


approve  of  employing  an  artist  whose  conduct  in  any  respect,  "political" 
or  otherwise,  has  made  him  or  is  likely  to  make  him  distasteful  to  the 
public.  In  making  decisions  pursuant  to  our  policy,  the  fact  that  an 
artist  has  been  listed  in  unsupported  charges  by  private  organs,  or- 
ganizations or  individuals  does  not  govern  our  attitude  toward  his 

Paul  M.  Hahn,  President, 

The  American  Tobacco  Company,  New  York 

While  I  have  never  heard  it  specifically  outlined,  I  believe  that  any- 
one employed  by  us  to  represent  Coca-Cola  would,  sub-consciously  at 
least,  be  looked  over  to  determine  his  fitness  for  the  job.  I  am  sure 
that  the  same  is  true  of  any  other  well-managed  organization. 

Ability  would  naturally  be  the  first  consideration.  After  that,  there 
would  be  many  other  factors,  both  tangible  and  intangible,  which  would 
determine  the  final  decision.  Whether  or  not  the  points  mentioned 
would  be  of  importance  would  probably  boil  down  to  a  question  of 
degree,  and  their  relative  importance  in  the  over-all  picture. 

In  actual  practice  we  buy  our  shows  as  a  complete  package  and,  con- 
sequently, we  do  not  handle  all  of  the  many  details  from  the  Advertis- 
ing Department.    For  example,  "Coke  Time"  with  Eddie  Fisher  is 
contracted  for  through  MCA  by  the  D'Arcy  Advertising  Company,  our 
agency,  and  we  have  no  definite  knowledge  of  all  the  intimate  details 
which  they  might  consider  when  making  a  show  for  us. 
E.  G.  Fritschel, 
Advertising  Department,  The  Coca-Cola  Company 

Here  are  my  answers  to  your  questions  in  chronological  order: 

1.  There  have  been  frank  and  open  admissions  to  me  that  certain  of 
my  clients  are,  for  political  reasons,  unemployable. 

2.  There  are  established  procedures  which  can  be  followed  to  clear 
up  the  clients'  problem;  at  least  I  have  established  procedures  of 
my  own.  Employment  criteria  are  fairly  stable.  There  are  generally 
accepted  criteria  of  employment. 

3.  a.    In  my  opinion  "blacklisting"  has  had  a  very  definite  effect  on 

the  industry,  depriving  it  in  many  instances  of  fine  talent.  How- 
ever, if  "blacklisting"  is  used  as  a  standard  of  protection,  then 
the  same  "discretion"  relating  to  the  employment  of  "Com- 
munists" should  be  applied  to  the  equally  harmful  "Fascists". 


With  regard  to  political  performance  which  is  un-American,  we 
have  on  the  one  hand  Gerald  L.  K.  Smith,  a  fascist,  and  on  the 
other  hand  Paul  Robeson,  a  Communist, 
b.    The  method  of  political  screening  is  a  farce. 

4.  Inasmuch  as  my  experience  at  one  time  as  a  propaganda  analyst 
taught  me  the  extent  to  which  a  cold  war  can  be  carried,  I  sincerely 
feel  that  a  criterion  other  than  competence  must  be  applied.  This 
refers  particularly  to  the  writer  as  an  artist.  Across  my  desk  have 
come  many  innocuous-looking  manuscripts  and/or  printed  material 
which  have  proven  to  be  "loaded." 

a.  Yes.   I  would  disapprove  of  the  industry's  employing  an  artist 
who  was  named  un-American  by  a  government  agency. 

b.  No.    I  would  not  disapprove  of  the  industry's  employing  an 
artist  who  was  an  "unfriendly  witness"  before  a  governmental 
investigating  body. 

c.  No.    I  would  not  disapprove  of  the  industry's  employing  an 
artist  who  stood  upon  the  Fifth  Amendment  before  such  a  body. 

d.  No.    I  would  not  disapprove  of  the  industry's  employing  an 
artist  who  has  been  listed  in  such  private  organs  as  Counter- 
attack, Red  Channels,  Firing  Line. 

e.  No.    I  would  not  disapprove  of  the  industry's  employing  an 
artist  who  in  the  public  mind,  or  at  least  before  a  goodly  section 
of  the  public,  is  deemed  "controversial." 

f.  I  would  disapprove  of  the  industry's  employing  an  artist  who 
had  been  proven  disloyal  by  the  Department  of  Justice  or  by 
similar  government  agencies. 

Briefly  my  attitude  about  the  phenomenon  to  which  you  refer  is:  this 
'witch-hunting'  is  far  from  the  democratic  concepts  of  our  founding 
fathers  (the  phrasing  indicates  the  spirit  in  which  I  regard  this).   No 
industry,  group,  or  individual  —  unless  duly  authorized  by  the  American 
people  —  should  be  permitted  to  sit  in  judgment.  I  have  had  a  great  deal 
of  experience  in  this  particular  phase  of  the  entertainment  industry. 
Dorothy  Waring,  Director, 
Waring  Enterprises,  New  York  City 

Any  frank  or  open  admission  of  blacklisting  with  regard  to  acting 
talent  always  stemmed  from  personal  friends.  While  these  admissions 
are  frank  they  have  never  been  open  to  the  extent  that  they  have  ema- 


nated  from  any  established  channel  or  formal  procedure.  When  we 
have  been  told  the  facts  it  has  always  been  in  an  informal,  off-the-record 
manner  so  that  we  could  know  "what  the  score  was."  I  have  never 
physically  seen  any  sort  of  blacklist  utilized  by  any  program.  The  situ- 
ation has  arisen  six  or  seven  times  in  the  2V-2.  years  of  our  operation. 
While  this  may  appear  as  a  very  small  percentage  there  are  the  factors 
that  these  are  the  only  times  that  we  know  about  and  that  each  time  it 
has  happened  it  has  limited  the  work  of  the  particular  artist  on  a  specific 
program  for  many  months. 

To  my  knowledge  there  is  no  accepted  or  established  procedure  for 
removing  talent  from  a  "controversial"  category.  While  one  program 
might  find  an  artist  objectionable  another  program  will  not.  The  only 
partial  answer  I  have  discovered  is  in  the  securing  of  as  much  employ- 
ment in  other  than  sensitive  areas  for  the  artist  if  possible.  If  this  can 
be  accomplished  the  restricted  areas  tend  to  become  more  lenient.  At 
least  at  that  point  a  talent  buyer  can  make  an  effort  to  utilize  the 

I  feel  blacklisting  tends  to  breed  undue  anxieties  and  nurtures  a  great 
amount  of  fear  and  insecurity  amongst  actors.  The  usual  working  con- 
dition of  an  actor  in  the  present  market  is  more  of  unemployment  than 
employment.  This  is  caused  to  a  great  degree  by  the  obvious  factor  that 
the  number  of  competent  artists  far  outdistances  the  number  of  job 
opportunities.  However,  if  an  actor  finds  himself  unemployed  for  more 
than  a  month  he  never  really  knows  whether  the  inactivity  is  caused 
by  the  market  condition  itself,  merely  an  unfortunate  coincidence  in 
not  winning  succeeding  auditions,  or  blacklisting.  Furthermore,  in 
most  instances  it's  extremely  difficult  if  not  entirely  impossible  for  the 
actor  to  find  out  the  precise  cause  for  non-work.  If  unemployment  per- 
sists there  is  a  tendency  on  the  part  of  many  actors  to  go  through  a 
panic  phase  of  being  haunted  by  the  suspicion  that  they  have  been 
blacklisted.  If  that  happens  to  be  the  cause  they  rarely  discover  why 
they  have  been  put  on  a  blacklist  which  thereby  prohibits  them  from 

I  have  discovered  that  artists  have  been  placed  on  lists  sometimes 
for  as  trivial  a  reason  as  a  confusion  in  the  spelling  of  his  or  her  name, 
or  an  identical  name  of  another  person  who  was  an  out  and  out  Com- 
munist. This  situation  hits  the  actors  where  it  hurts  most,  economically 
as  well  as  creatively.  It  keeps  them  under  a  constant  threat  of  being 


erroneously  and  of  course  secretly  accused  and  judged  of  being  "con- 
troversial." Many  of  them  under  these  circumstances  will  grasp  at  any 
straw  to  get  out  of  the  "controversial"  category.  Therefore  it  leaves 
the  door  open  to  unscrupulous  operators  who  will  prey  on  this  fear  and 
utilize  it  to  their  own  ends.  I  have  even  heard  of  attempts  for  payment 
from  actors  in  order  to  get  their  names  cleared.  To  my  knowledge  this 
procedure  has  never  worked  and  is  just  short  of  blackmail.  It  also  pre- 
sents the  possibility  of  creating  a  situation  whereby  one  actor  will  start 
spying  on  another  actor.  Therefore  this  whole  area  tends  to  weaken  the 
morale  of  actors  thereby  dissipating  the  moral  fabric  of  the  entire 

If  to  be  a  Communist  means  that  the  particular  person  in  question 
is  committed  to  advocate  the  overthrow  of  the  government,  I  do  not  be- 
lieve that  individual  ought  to  be  associated  to  any  degree  with  any  form 
of  mass  communications.  However,  the  crux  of  the  problem  and  the 
burning  issue  in  radio  and  television  is  not  whether  to  keep  Communists 
on  or  off  the  air.  I  don't  believe  there  is  any  question  that  any  person 
who's  pledged  to  the  destruction  of  our  country  should  be  kept  off  the 
air.  The  real  problem,  however,  is  how  to  determine  who  is  a  Commu- 
nist. So  far  there  has  been  no  adequate  solution  to  this  problem.  There 
is  a  vast  difference  between  a  person  who  dissents  from  a  popular  view 
and  an  individual  who  is  disloyal  to  the  public  interest.  I  personally  do 
not  believe  that  any  private  organization  or  informal  group  of  people 
should  set  themselves  up  as  watchdogs  of  the  community.  It  is  much 
too  easy  for  the  overzealous  and  the  overcautious  to  become  lax  with 
the  lawful  prerogatives  of  individuals.  Too  many  of  these  supposed 
watchdogs  solemnly  preach  the  virtues  of  our  government  and  soberly 
practice  accusing  and  condeming  without  benefit  of  legal  procedure. 
In  my  opinion  there  ought  to  be,  first  of  all,  a  legal  definition  of  what 
constitutes  being  a  Communist.  Then  I  believe  that  a  procedure  should 
be  set  up  whereby  the  individual  in  question  is  confronted  with  the  evi- 
dence and  his  accusers,  and  is  able  to  defend  himself  according  to  the 
law,  keeping  in  mind  that  this  procedure  should  be  of  such  a  nature 
that  the  mere  accusation  that  somebody  might  be  "controversial"  will 
not  immediately  condemn  the  individual  by  the  public  at  large.  I  further 
believe  that  these  criteria  and  procedures  should  be  under  federal  super- 
vision. It  seems  to  me  that  what  must  be  eliminated  is  all  of  the 


private  and  secret  mumbo-jumbo  that  has  been  going  on  which  in  effect 
merely  satisfies  the  personal  interest  and  axes  of  a  particular  few. 

Henry  C.  Brown, 

Henry  C.  Brown,  Inc.  Agency,  New  York 

We  are  definitely  not  satisfied  with  the  way  the  situation  has  been 
handled  to  date.  We  are,  all  of  us,  in  this  organization,  acquainted  with 
several  performers  who  are  unable  to  get  work  because  of  unfair  listings 
or  ill-advised  affiliations  in  the  distant  past.  My  personal  inclination  is 
always  to  use  these  people,  if  possible.  However,  there  is  no  denying 
the  fact  that  if  these  performers  or  writers  are  well  enough  known  to 
the  public,  and  if  they  are  controversial  enough,  they  do  stir  up  a  hor- 
net's nest  and  it  makes  it  terribly  difficult  for  a  packager  to  use  them  — 
regardless  of  personal  opinions. 

In  the  final  analysis,  I  think  the  responsibility  for  clearance  of  this 
situation  must  rest  with  networks  and,  ultimately,  the  sponsors.   If  the 
sponsors  would  but  be  firm  and  refuse  to  allow  a  few  smear  letters  to 
intimidate  them,  I  believe  the  end  result  would  be  much  more  satisfac- 
tory than  the  maze  of  confusion  which  exists  at  the  present. 
Jack  Barry, 
Barry,  Enright  &  Friendly,  Inc.,  New  York  City 

As  an  advertising  agency,  it  is  our  job  to  increase  the  sales  of  our 
clients'  products  and  services,  and  to  enhance  their  public  acceptance. 
In  the  circumstances,  it  is  our  policy  to  refrain  from  employing  anyone 
who  we  have  reason  to  believe  may  embroil  any  of  our  clients  in  con- 
troversies of  any  kind,  for  any  reason,  or  which  will  result  in  alienating 
any  substantial  section  of  the  public.  While  what  is  controversial  may 
differ  from  decade  to  decade,  and  even  from  year  to  year,  we  believe 
that  our  company  policy  will  continue  unchanged,  namely,  to  present 
our  clients'  products  and  services  in  the  most  favorable  light  and  to  do 
nothing  to  incur  the  ill  will  of  any  substantial  group  of  people. 
Robert  F.  Carney, 
Foote,  Cone  &  Belding,  New  York  City 

Your  letter  asking  us  some  questions  about  practices  in  the  entertain- 
ment industry  presents  a  real  problem.  As  an  advertising  agency,  we 
act  on  behalf  of  clients,  and  in  that  relationship  there  is,  as  you  can 
appreciate,  a  confidential  element. 


At  the  same  time  we  recognize  that  there  is  a  problem  in  the  enter- 
tainment industry,  and  we  would  like  to  do  anything  we  can  to  help 
solve  it  fairly  and  equitably.  As  far  as  the  position  of  the  agency  itself 
is  concerned,  we  have  a  policy.  .  .  .  However,  you  will  understand  that 
we  cannot  insist  that  any  client  follow  our  policy  completely.  Conse- 
quently, we  have  varying  degrees  of  agreement  with  the  execution  of 
our  policy  among  our  various  clients. 

Your  question  refers  to  "certain  political  criteria."  The  word 
"political,"  in  the  dictionary  sense,  means  "of  or  pertaining  to  polity,  or 
politics  or  the  conduct  of  government."  Under  this  definition,  we  would 
classify  communism  as  a  political  belief.  However,  communism  as  a 
political  party  in  the  United  States  has  been  outlawed  by  national  legis- 
lation and  characterized  as  a  conspiracy  rather  than  a  political  party. 
We  believe  this  was  the  result  of  the  conspiratorial  and  unlawful 
methods  of  the  Communists.  And,  consequently,  we  do  not  consider  a 
belief  in  the  Communist  Party  or  in  the  Communist  dogma  as  "political" 
in  the  usual  sense  in  which  this  word  is  used  in  America. 

(a)  We  would  disapprove  of  hiring  an  artist  named  as  a  Communist 
by  a  government  agency,  or 

(b)  One  who  was  an  "unfriendly  witness"  before  such  a  body  (as- 
suming that  this  had  some  identification  with  communism) ,  or 

(c)  One  who  stood  on  the  Fifth  Amendment  before  such  a  body 
(assuming  again  that  this  was  in  response  to  a  question  about  Commu- 
nist affiliation). 

(d)  We  would  not  disapprove  of  hiring  an  artist  merely  because  he 
has  been  listed  in  such  private  organs  as  Counterattack,  Red  Channels 
or  Firing  Line. 

(e)  As  to  our  attitude  with  respect  to  an  artist  "who  in  the  public 
mind,  or  at  least  before  a  goodly  section  of  the  public,  is  deemed 
'controversial,' "  of  course  it  is  necessary  to  define  the  meaning  of  the 
word  "controversial."  Almost  anyone  in  the  public  eye  can  be  contro- 
versial to  some  degree.  Both  we  and  our  clients  try  to  be  reasonable  in 
our  definition.   Since  the  purpose  of  sponsoring  a  radio-television  pro- 
gram is  to  promote  good  will  and  increase  sales,  it  is  hardly  possible  to 
justify  a  program  which  provokes  antagonism  and  loses  sales. 

(f)  As  to  any  other  category,  there  have  been  moral  turpitude 
clauses  in  artists'  contracts  since  the  beginning  of  radio  and  television, 
as  well  as  in  other  fields,  and  we,  of  course,  would  disapprove  of  hiring 


any  artist  who  has  been  involved  in  any  situation  which  offends  public 
decency  or  public  morals,  or  is  offensive  to  any  race,  creed  or  religion. 
In  exercising  our  judgment  as  to  such  criteria,  we  naturally  consult 
with  the  sponsor  in  any  cases  where  we  deem  that  such  consultation 
is  indicated.  Otherwise,  in  those  cases  where  the  sponsor  leaves  this 
problem  to  us,  we  exercise  our  judgment  entirely  independently. 

(a)  As  stated  above,  we  have  our  own  criteria  which  we  cannot 
insist  that  any  sponsor  follow.   Sponsors,  too,  have  their  own  criteria 
which  are  similar  to  our  in  varying  degrees.  Each  case  requires  careful 
evaluation   in   the   light   of   the   criteria   of   the   particular   sponsor 
concerned.    Some  sponsors  leave  this  problem  to  our  judgment,  and 
others  take  an  active  interest  themselves. 

(b)  It  is  impossible  to  say  whether  the  employment  of  "contro- 
versial" personalities  hurts  the  sale  of  products.    We  have  no  direct 
evidence  either  way.  We  would  assume  that  the  continued  use  of  per- 
formers who  antagonized  large  segments  of  the  public  would  affect  sales 
adversely.  Of  course,  the  whole  basis  of  good  public  relations  and  the 
promotion  of  good  will  among  the  buying  public  is  involved. 

We  are  not  satisfied  that,  to  date,  a  solution  which  combats  the  very 
real  threat  of  communism  and  at  the  same  time  preserves  the  traditional 
American  principles  of  fair  play  and  justice  to  the  individual  has  been 
found.  Our  belief  on  this  score  applies  not  only  to  the  field  of  enter- 
tainment, but  also  to  the  problem  in  all  areas. 

We  think  that  the  use  of  the  criteria  mentioned  above  is  based  on 
all  three  elements  which  you  mention,  i.e., 

(a)  economic  motives, 

(b)  patriotic  motives,  and 

(c)  fear  of  pressure  groups. 
This  agency  also  submitted  the  following  statement: 

Our  policy  may  be  stated  as  follows: 

1.  We  shall  not  knowingly  use  or  permit  to  be  used,  in  connection 
with  any  advertising  done  by  us,  any  material  of  any  kind  which 
in  our  opinion  implies  disloyalty  to  the  government  of  the  United 
States  or  its  institutions,  or  which  —  either  in  intent  or  in  effect  — 
could  reasonably  be  interpreted  as  subversive. 

2.  Neither  will  we  knowingly  employ,  or  permit  to  be  employed  in 
connection  with  any  of  our  advertising  activities,  any  person  who 
is  a  Communist  or  who  —  by  virtue  of  his  association  or  affiliation 


with  known  Communists  or  with  activities  known  to  be  disloyal  or 
subversive  —  justifies  the  conclusion  that  he  is  disloyal. 

3.  For  the  purpose  of  deciding  whether  we  will  hire  or  retain  any 
individual,  we  will  consider  as  adequate  reason  for  disqualification  — 
(a)  his  own  admission  that  he  is  a  member  of  the  Communist  Party 
and/or  disloyal  to  the  Government  of  the  United  States;   (b)   a 
judicial  determination  of  his  membership  in  the  Communist  Party 
and/or  disloyalty;  (c)  his  refusal  to  answer,  in  a  judicial  proceeding 
or  before  any  properly  constituted  governmental  investigating  body, 
relevant  questions  as  to  his  membership  in  the  Communist  Party 
and/or  his  loyalty. 

4.  In  any  case  where  an  individual  employed  or  about  to  be  employed 
by  us  is  accused  or  suspected  of  disloyalty,  we  shall  make  every 
attempt  to  determine  the  actual  facts.  We  will  not  base  an  opinion 
on  hearsay  evidence  or  suspicion,  but  will  undertake  to  determine 
as  fairly  as  possible  whether  he  is  the  kind  of  person  whom  we  want 
to  employ.   We  recognize  clearly  that  we  have  no  right  whatever 
to  pass  judgment  on  the  loyalty  or  disloyalty  of  any  individual;  all 
that  we  have  the  right  to  do  is  to  determine  whether,  for  whatever 
reason,  we  do  or  do  not  wish  to  employ  the  particular  individual. 

5.  As  a  corollary  of  the  last  statement  we  may  say  that  it  will  be  our 
policy  not  to  join  with  any  other  person,  firm  or  association  in 
blacklisting  any  individual;  and  neither  will  we  abrogate  our  right 
and  our  responsibility  to  make  our  own  decision  as  to  the  hiring  or 
not-hiring  of  any  individual,  and  in  making  that  decision  we  will 
not  yield  to  pressure  from  any  source. 

We  feel  that  the  protection  and  preservation  of  America,  its  govern- 
ment and  its  institutions,  is  not  the  exclusive  concern  of  any  individual, 
group  of  individuals,  or  organization.  That  is  a  responsibility  of  all 
right-thinking  Americans,  and  we  are  fully  prepared  to  shoulder  our 
full  share  of  that  responsibility. 

We  will  always  welcome  information  that  is  factual  and  constructive, 
and  that  will  aid  us  in  making  the  right  decision  whenever  a  decision 
is  called  for.  But  such  information,  from  whatever  source  it  may  come, 
will  not  be  permitted  in  any  instance  to  be  a  substitute  for  our  own  in- 
dependent attempt  to  learn  the  truth. 

We  are  sure  that  we  are  quite  as  concerned  as  anyone  else  properly 
is  with  the  dangers  of  Communist  and  subversive  activities  in  this 


country;  and  we  are  equally  sure  that  all  right-thinking  Americans  — 
no  less  than  we  —  are  concerned  with  the  protection  of  loyal  individuals 
against  unsupported  accusations.  The  preservation  of  our  free  Ameri- 
can institutions  demands,  as  President  Eisenhower  has  said,  complete 
loyalty  on  the  one  hand,  and  protection  against  mere  suspicion  on  the 

We  wholeheartedly  subscribe  to  that  statement.  And  it  is  our  hope 
that  by  recognizing  that  there  are  two  equally  important  objectives  to 
be  attained  —  the  exposure  and  elimination  of  the  disloyal  and  subver- 
sive, and  the  protection  of  the  loyal  —  that  we  and  all  others  who  are 
dedicated  to  the  protection  and  preservation  of  America  can  all  pro- 
ceed, with  a  minimum  of  rancor  and  name-calling,  toward  the  accom- 
plishment of  our  common  objectives. 

Spokesman  for  a  leading  advertising  agency 
(Name  withheld  at  agency's  request) 

We  believe  we  can  give  you  our  position  in  this  statement  —  we  are 
against  communism. 

We  do  not  believe  we  would  be  acting  in  the  best  interests  of  the 
United  States,  our  clients  and  our  agency  to  employ  Communists,  and 
we  have  no  intention  of  doing  so. 

F.  Strother  Cary,  Jr., 

Administrative  Vice  President, 

Leo  Burnett  Company,  Inc.,  Chicago,  Illinois 

Let  me  say  first  that  I  have  no  sympathy  with  the  present-day 
American  Communist.  Americans  today  are,  or  should  be,  too  well- 
informed  to  fall  for  the  Soviet-inspired  Communist  line.  Twenty, 
twenty-five  years  ago,  this  country  was  in  a  terrible  mess  and  who 
could  blame  the  people  for  feeling  that  perhaps  this  system  of  govern- 
ment did  have  some  flaws  after  all?  Not  too  much  was  known  about 
communism  then  and  the  hunger  and  hopelessness  of  that  sad  era  made 
a  good  seed-bed  for  its  missionaries  in  this  country. 

So  I'm  not  sympathetic  with  a  Communist  today  and  I  do  not  want 
him  teaching  in  our  schools  or  in  any  position  of  trust.  Even  more 
than  I  dislike  Communists,  do  I  dislike  the  "witch-hunters."  ...  I  have 
nothing  but  contempt  for  anyone  connected  with  any  such  activity. 
...  I  cannot  say  that  I  relish  the  idea  of  having  too  many  Communists 
stowed  away  in  positions  where  they  might  wield  an  influence  on  our 


way  of  thinking,  or,  I  should  say,  the  way  of  thinking  of  the  more 
susceptible  elements  of  our  society.  But  I  certainly  would  not  draw 
the  line  at  a  man  just  because  he  is  "controversial."  I  can  imagine  that 
there  are  a  number  of  independent-minded  liberals  among  our  popula- 
tion who  are  "controversial"  without  being  Communist. 

Kay  Conran, 

Artist  Representative  and  Agent,  New  York  City 

Blacklisting  has  created  an  unhealthy  Kremlin-like  pallor  over  show- 
business.  A  normal  desire  to  shake  Red  influence  in  talent  unions  has 
been  subverted  by  the  other  extremists  into  a  witch-hunt.  Un-American 
"shadowlands"  have  been  created,  permeating  basic  institutions. 

Political  screening  has  been  a  failure  simply  because  too  many  in- 
nocents have  been  caught  up  in  the  web  without  any  means  of  redemp- 
tion, short  of  grovelling  in  the  mud  before  self-appointed  "patriots" 
whose  influence  is  far  in  excess  of  their  importance.  Also,  what  is  pink 
at  one  network  is  "clean"  at  another.  Even  shows  on  the  same  network 
vary  and  conflict.  Some  advertisers  have  a  formal,  though  un-official, 
screening  board.  These  boards  will  check  every  show  talent  list  and 
ban  performers  who  might  very  well  have  been  cleared  by  an  opposing 
show.  The  very  un-Americanism  of  the  blanket  blacklist  causes  this 
confusion  among  sponsors  of  good-will  but  weak  backbone.  Sustaining 
shows  are  more  courageous  than  sponsored  shows. 
Robert  Schultz, 
Robert  Schultz  Associates,  New  York  City 

The  radio  and  television  programs  in  which  we  have  been  involved 
as  sponsor  have  been  so-called  "packaged"  programs  where  our  partici- 
pation has  been  only  to  the  extent  of  establishing  story  format  and 
production  standards.  Except  in  instances  where  it  involved  a  host  or 
hostess  or  something  of  this  nature,  we  have  seldom  been  involved  or 
even  consulted  in  the  matter  of  casting  or  employment. 

We,  of  course,  would  not  knowingly  give  employment  either  directly 
or  indirectly  to  a  Communist  or  to  anyone  we  considered  to  be  un- 
American,  or  for  that  matter  anyone  that  would  be  incompatible  with 
good  citizenship. 

We  have  made  this  policy  known  to  those  producing  our  shows  and 
have  relied  on  their  judgment.  It  would  seem  to  us  that  in  considering 


the  other  cases  proposed  in  your  letter,  one  could  only  reach  a  fair 
decision  by  taking  each  case  individually  and  carefully  weighing  all  the 

John  J.  Oakson,  Advertising  Manager, 
Hallmark  Cards,  Kansas  City,  Missouri 

The  public  performer,  whether  in  the  theatre,  concert,  opera,  radio, 
television  or  cinema,  must  observe  an  axiom  of  show  business,  which 
is  not  to  engage  in  contentious  non-conformism.  He  therefore  must 
confine  his  opinions  to  the  secret  ballot.  Active  participation  in  politics, 
particularly  politics  out  of  public  favor,  is  incompatible  with  his  pro- 
fession and  may  destroy  his  power  to  make  a  living.  Judgment  of  the 
performer's  behavior  is  on  a  public  relations  level.  Wherein  merit  may 
lie  on  any  question  is  irrelevant. 

In  a  large  agency  of  this  sort,  representing  over  150  artists  and 
attractions,  the  above  axiom  has  a  direct  effect  on  the  company's 
policy,  and  it  avoids  representing,  as  far  as  possible,  any  artists  whose 
political  activity  might  reflect  on  the  company,  its  other  artists,  its 
clients,  and  so  forth. 

We  have  no  system  of  political  screening  and  assume  that  all  of  our 
artists  are  worthy  of  representation  until  they  prove  otherwise. 
F.  C.  Schang,  President, 
Columbia  Artists  Management,  Inc. 

In  a  few  cases  we  have  been  told,  unofficially  but  frankly,  by  tele- 
vision producers  that  certain  of  our  clients  are  unemployable  due  to 
the  inclusion  of  their  names  in  such  publications  as  Red  Channels, 
Counterattack  and  other  "confidential"  lists. 

We  have  been  able  to  discover  no  method  of  clearing  such  clients 
for  performance  in  radio  or  television  but  we  have  found  that  these 
performers  are  sometimes  accepted  on  shows  after  having  been  rejected 
on  other  shows.  In  other  words,  we  feel  that  employment  criteria  are 
not  stable. 

We  do  not  think  that  this  "blacklisting"  has  had  any  profound  effect 
on  the  producing  end  of  the  industry  .  .  .  except  for  the  loss  of  self- 
respect  on  the  part  of  the  less  courageous  producers.  We  think  that 
while  some  of  the  more  informed  and  thoughtful  segments  of  the  public 
are  contemptuous  of  the  television  and  radio  industry  for  allowing 
minority  groups  to  dictate  policy,  in  general  the  public  is  hardly  aware 


of  the  situation  and  not  seriously  interested  in  the  many  hardships  that 
have  been  undergone  by  performers  as  a  result.  .  .  . 

While  we  would  not  favor  the  employment  of  a  performer  who  was 
admittedly  a  card-carrying  Communist  or  one  designated  as  such  after 
an  impartial  hearing  by  competent  Government  Agencies,  we  would 
not  subscribe  to  the  barring  of  a  performer  for  any  other  reason  except 
lack  of  competence.  This  does  not  apply  to  the  employment  of  really 
controversial  people,  whether  Fascist  or  Communist,  in  such  sensitive 
positions  as  administrators,  executives,  producers  or  writers  of  tele- 
vision or  radio  shows. 

Walter  Prude, 

Hurok  Attractions,  Inc.,  New  York  City 

Back  in  1950,  when  Jean  Muir  was  dropped  from  "The  Aldrich 
Family,"  the  case  became  one  of  the  most  celebrated  firings  in 
show-business  history.  Arthur  Godfrey's  personnel  shakeups  may 
have  garnered  more  newspaper  space  in  the  years  since,  but  they 
have  drawn  nowhere  near  the  same  intensity.  Overnight,  television 
critics  turned  into  experts  on  law,  due  process  and  the  state  of 
Western  civilization. 

The  Muir  affair  created  some  strange  journalistic  bed-fellows. 
The  Daily  Worker  thought  the  radio-tv  industry  should  be  ashamed 
of  itself;  so  did  Fortune.  But  the  Worker  would  have  been  wise  to 
keep  its  own  counsel.  Far  from  being  a  case  of  capitalist  exploita- 
tion, the  affair,  if  anything,  was  a  clear  demonstration  of  what 
might  be  expected  of  a  "dictatorship  of  the  proletariat." 

Ultimately,  the  issue  at  stake  was  whether  the  business  corpora- 
tion is  a  political  (as  opposed  to  a  simply  economic)  unit  of  society. 
Not  that  the  battle  was  fought  on  that  ground.  Whether  they  said 
so  or  not,  all  the  combatants,  including  General  Foods,  took  for 
granted  that  they  were  dealing  with  a  political  problem  and  never 
questioned  whether  in  doing  so  they  were  trespassing  on  forbidden 

Thirty  years  ago,  Mary  Parker  Follett,  who  is  sometimes  called 
the  mother  of  American  management,  wrote: 


Oliver  Sheldon  says  "Management  acknowledges  as  master  the  pub- 
lic will  of  the  community  alone."  I  do  not  agree  with  that.  The  public 
will  of  a  particular  community  may  have  to  be  educated  to  appreciate 
certain  standards.  That  is  exactly  what  is  going  to  make  business 
management  a  profession;  to  realize  that  it  is  responsible  to  something 
higher  than  the  public  will  of  the  community,  that  its  service  to  the 
public  does  not  lie  wholly  in  obeying  the  public. 

What  does  the  management  of  General  Foods  Corporation  have 
to  do  with  the  "public  will,"  except  as  it  applies  to  its  taste  for 
Jell-O  as  opposed  to  its  taste  for,  say,  Royal  Gelatin  Desserts? 
Everything,  apparently.  By  any  measure  General  Foods  is  big 
business.  In  sales  it  ranks  31  among  all  U.  S.  corporations.  It  em- 
ploys and  therefore,  to  some  extent,  influences  the  lives  of  more  than 
20,000  people,  and  it  must  keep  some  60,000  stockholders  happy. 
It  is  also  as  ingratiatingly  eager  to  please  as  a  St.  Bernard.  In  1954 
it  bought  $62  million  worth  of  advertising  and  promotion  to  tout 
its  several  cereal,  coffee,  gelatin  and  other  food  products.  Of  this 
total,  it  entrusted  $34  million  to  Young  &  Rubicam,  the  advertising 
agency  on  which  it  relies  most  heavily  to  stimulate  a  desire  for 
General  Foods  products,  and  to  create  good  will  for  the  company. 

The  reliance  is  mutual.  General  Foods'  billings  in  1954  accounted 
for  nearly  a  fifth  of  Y  &  R's  business.  When  Y  &  R  expanded 
overseas  it  was  hand  in  hand  with  General  Foods  own  expansion. 
The  ad  agency,  therefore,  might  well  be  particularly  solicitous 
about,  and  sensitive  to,  the  "public  good  will"  its  client  engenders. 

In  that  phrase,  "public  good  will,"  lies  the  crux  of  the  matter. 
General  Foods,  as  Fortune  put  it,  "stood  on  its  position  that,  as  a 
controversial  personality,  (Miss  Muir)  must  necessarily  hinder 
rather  than  promote  the  sale  of  Jell-O  via  the  Aldrich  Family." 
Did  this  mean  that  people  seeing  Miss  Muir  would  think  that  lime 
Jell-O  tastes  even  less  like  lime  than  it  does,  or  that  Savarin  coffee 
would  ipso  facto  taste  coffee-ier  than  does  General  Foods'?  Clearly 
not.  What  was  feared  was  that  they  would  believe  that  General 


Foods  was  acting,  in  the  current  jargon  of  "business  statesmanship," 
like  a  "poor  citizen,"  that  it  was  deporting  itself  badly  as  a  dis- 
tinctly political  power. 

"The  Jean  Muir  case,"  Fortune's  Lewis  Galantiere  wrote,  "has 
not  actually  drawn  business  into  the  swamp  of  ideological  agitation 
in  which  government,  science,  the  movies,  and  the  teaching  pro- 
fession have  so  long  been  mired.  But  it  has  confronted  business 
with  a  public-relations  issue  that  still  remains  to  be  clarified." 

In  Hollywood  there  is  no  business  like  show  business;  up  and 
down  Madison  Avenue  there  are  plenty  of  businesses  like  show 
business.  Unlike  Hollywood,  television  cannot  be  isolated  from 
American  life.  It  is  not  a  sample  culture.  TV  is  everywhere,  it  is 
pervasively  of  American  culture.  It  is  the  American  business  civili- 
zation's image  of  what  a  business  civilization  should  be,  bought  and 
paid  for  by  hundreds  of  business  organizations. 

The  Muir  case  touched  a  nerve.  It  was  at  once  the  first  and  the 
classic  instance  of  blacklisting  in  radio-tv.  Each  of  the  principals 
was  as  typical  as  any  commentator  could  hope  for.  And  they  were 
all  caught  more  or  less  unprepared.  Unlike  the  scores  of  variations 
that  have  occurred  since,  the  Muir  affair  spilled  out  into  public 
where  it  could  be  seen  and  discussed.  Official  mutterings  from  all 
quarters,  at  first  anyway,  were  unguarded,  and  surprisingly 

The  one  thread  that  ran  through  practically  every  comment  on 
the  case  was  a  kind  of  frustration,  the  pent-up  anger  of  a  man  who 
knows  he  has  been  wronged  somehow  but  who  cannot  figure  out 
just  how.  Was  not  General  Foods  free  to  hire  or  fire  whomever 
it  pleased?  Was  not  Miss  Muir  paid  in  full  for  her  contract?  The 
answer  is,  yes,  of  course.  But  it  is  also  a  fact  that  the  actress  was 
done  out  of  her  career  and  had  no  recourse  which  would  not 
threaten  to  play  havoc  with  her  personal  integrity. 

Puzzle:  find  the  villain.  Counterattack  and  its  supporters  pro- 
test, in  effect:  "We  didn't  do  anything.  All  we  did  was  make  her 


record  known."  No  one  can  question  Counterattack's  (or  AWARE, 
Inc.'s,  or  Vincent  Hartnett's  or  the  Veterans  Action  Committee  of 
Syracuse  Super  Markets')  right  to  publicize  the  dossiers  they  keep. 
Mrs.  Hester  McCullough  told  The  New  York  Times:  "I  think  Gen- 
eral Foods  should  have  been  as  respectful  of  Miss  Muir's  rights  as 
they  were  of  my  rights  in  protesting." 

Which  of  Miss  Muir's  "rights"  should  General  Foods  have  re- 
spected? Mrs.  McCullough's  right  to  protest  does  not  derive  from 
the  corporate  charter  of  General  Foods;  it  derives  from  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States.  What  "rights"  in  that  sense  did 
Jean  Muir  have?  The  "right"  to  keep  her  job  on  television?  The 
"right"  to  continue  on  in  her  career?  The  power  to  do  these  things 
rested  in  the  hands  of  General  Foods  and  the  National  Broadcasting 
Company.  It  was  for  them  to  decide  whether  Miss  Muir's  "rights" 
were  to  have  any  meaning.  In  a  word,  General  Foods  was  asked 
to  do  what  it  patently  is  incompetent  to  do  —  it  was  asked  to  dis- 
pense legal  justice. 

This  the  corporation  could  not  do  without  involving  itself  and 
other  corporations  associated  with  it  in  a  kind  of  parody  of  the 
law.  The  Muir  case,  at  the  very  beginning  of  blacklisting,  then, 
showed  where  the  vacuum  lay.  A  certain  temperament  and  turn 
of  mind  were  required  to  fill  that  vacuum  and  the  people  who  have 
these  qualifications  comprise  the  jerry-built  institution  called  black- 
listing which  is  now  part  and  parcel  of  life  on  Madison  Avenue. 

Here  the  problem  is  seen  most  clearly.  If  the  American  busi- 
nesses which  together  comprise  the  radio-tv  industry  are  to  assume 
the  burdens  of  government,  they  must  also  assume  responsibility 
for  dispensing  justice.  They  cannot  have  it  both  ways.  They  can- 
not argue  on  the  one  hand  that  economic  considerations  come  be- 
fore all  else,  and,  on  the  other,  speak  glowingly  of  the  contribution 
"business  statesmanship"  is  making  to  a  business-oriented  demo- 
cratic society. 


Blacklisting  and  Broadway 

THERE  is  NO  ORGANIZED  BLACKLISTING  on  Broadway.  A  certain 
few  performers  have  had  difficulty  finding  work.  These  are  people 
especially  well  known  for  their  political  associations;  they  have 
been  so  outspoken,  so  thoroughly  "political"  in  their  public  life 
that  they  are  persona  non  grata  to  large  numbers  of  Americans. 
The  normal  criteria  of  personal  choice  —  including  politics  —  do 
operate,  to  some  extent,  in  the  legitimate  theatre.  Some  producers 
may  feel  so  strongly  about  left-wingers  they  are  loath  to  hire  them; 
other  producers  may  be  similarly  prejudiced  against  right-wingers. 
But  there  are  no"  lists"  which  have  universal  force  on  Broadway. 
There  are  no  "security  officers."  There  are  no  "clearance"  systems. 

The  theatre  is  related  to  blacklisting  indirectly,  that  is,  a  Broad- 
way performer's  associations  may  be  held  against  him  in  radio  or 
television.  Participation  in  certain  left-wing  theatrical  groups  may 
form  an  item  in  an  actor's  radio-tv  dossier.  But  all  the  traditions  of 
the  Broadway  theatre  militate  against  political  blacklisting,  and  by 
and  large  the  theatre  has  lived  according  to  those  traditions. 

JOHN  KENNEDY  (producer) :  "No  one  in  the  New  York  legiti- 
mate theatre  is  afraid  of  being  picketed.  There  may  have  been 
some  fear  in  the  past,  but  it  doesn't  enter  into  decisions  now." 

FRANCIS  HIDDEN  (actor's  agent) :  "No  one  I  represent  has  ever 
been  questioned  about  his  political  associations.  There  is  no  black- 
listing on  Broadway." 

JAMES  REILLY  (executive  secretary,  League  of  New  York  Thea- 
tres) :  "There  are  probably  some  actors  a  producer  wouldn't  want 


to  use  for  political  reasons,  but  the  matter  is  individual  and  per- 
sonal. There  is  no  organized  blacklisting." 

YIP  HARBURG  (song  writer) :  "There  is  no  blacklisting  on 
Broadway.  Still,  I  couldn't  do  Tinian's  Rainbow'  again,  because 
of  its  content.  Sometimes  a  few  benefit  tickets  might  get  turned 
in.  But  there  is  no  real  blacklist." 

REBECCA  BROWNSTEIN  (former  attorney  for  Actors  Equity  As- 
sociation) :  "In  some  cases  there  was  an  attempt  at  'blacklisting' 
as  it  is  called.  But  it  was  enough  to  phone  the  producer  or  mana- 
ger. That  settled  the  question." 

ARTHUR  MILLER  (playwright) :  "I  take  a  very  close,  personal 
part  in  casting  my  shows.  I  have  never  been  told  who  I  can  use 
or  not  use.  I  hire  solely  on  the  basis  of  competence.  I  would  use 
a  man  who  was  in  complete  disagreement  with  me  politically  if  he 
were  right  for  the  part." 

DOROTHY  PARKER  (playwright) :  "I  believe  that  there  is  no  or- 
ganized or  established  blacklisting  on  Broadway." 

In  August,  1955,  the  House  Committee  on  Un-American  Activi- 
ties held  hearings  on  communism  in  the  Broadway  theatre.  Twenty- 
three  witnesses  were  called,  and  22  of  them  turned  out  to  be 
"unfriendly,"  invoking  the  First,  Fourth,  Fifth,  Sixth,  Eighth, 
Ninth,  Tenth  and  Fourteenth  Amendments  to  the  Constitution.  In 
Hollywood  or  on  Madison  Avenue,  actors  that  "unfriendly"  could 
expect  not  to  work  again  until  such  time  as  they  "cleared"  them- 
selves. But  the  Broadway  performers  who  refused  to  cooperate 
with  the  Walter  Committee  simply  went  back  to  work.  In  one  case, 
an  actor  who  had  invoked  the  Fifth  Amendment  had  his  contract 
torn  up  —  and  was  given  a  new  one  at  higher  pay  and  for  a  longer 
period  of  time.  The  actor  was  not  being  rewarded  for  his  "unfriend- 
liness," he  was  being  rewarded  for  his  professional  ability.  And 
it  is  ability  that  still  counts  on  Broadway. 

The  experience  of  the  22  uncooperative  witnesses  in  the  New 


York  Theatre  probe  illustrates  the  tremendous  difference  between 
the  legitimate  stage,  and  the  movies  and  radio-tv.  The  basic  differ- 
ence between  these  media  lies  in  the  fact  that  the  American  legiti- 
mate theatre  is  the  only  entertainment  medium  still  entrepreneurial 
in  its  methods  of  production. 

The  production  of  a  play  is  relatively  cheap  when  compared  to 
the  cost  of  a  movie  or  television  show.  As  a  result,  the  complex 
financial  setup  of  Hollywood  and  Madison  Avenue  does  not  exist. 
Individual  backers  have  to  be  convinced  that  a  show  has  possibili- 
ties, and  this  is  usually  done  through  personal  contact  between  a 
producer  and  his  "angels."  In  1955,  Arthur  Miller  was  unable  to 
work  in  the  movies  or  in  radio-television.  Yet  it  was  easy  to  raise 
the  money  necessary  to  put  his  work  on  Broadway.  For  one  thing, 
Miller  is  a  highly  successful  playwright  —  his  shows  have  consist- 
ently made  money  —  and  an  investment  in  a  Miller  play  is  an 
uncommonly  safe  speculation.  For  another,  the  playwright's  repu- 
tation is  strong  enough  to  insure  a  good  box  office  sale  even  before 
his  plays  open.  As  a  result,  Miller  has  never  been  faced  with  any 
problems  arising  out  of  his  highly  controversial  political  views. 
On  the  contrary,  Miller's  problem  is  to  decide  which  of  his  poten- 
tial backers  to  choose. 

Theatrical  investors,  as  a  general  rule,  do  not  care  about  the 
political  associations  of  people  who  are  to  be  hired.  People  like 
Margaret  Webster,  Harold  Rome,  Dorothy  Parker,  and  Sam  Jaffe, 
all  listed  in  Red  Channels,  have  been  able  to  work  in  the  theatre 
throughout  a  period  of  intensive  blacklisting  in  movies  and 

Yet  such  a  situation  could  not  exist  were  it  not  for  the  peculiar 
nature  of  the  theatre  audience  in  New  York.  The  movie-goer  or 
television  viewer  is  a  member  of  an  impersonal  mass,  part  of  a 
vast  cross-section,  the  nearest  thing  we  have  to  the  elusive  "com- 
mon man."  His  attitudes  and  prejudices  are  something  of  a  common 
denominator.  Because  of  this,  Hollywood  and  Madison  Avenue 


have  to  avoid  certain  themes  and  often  feel  called  upon  to  shun 
the  "controversial."  The  number  of  people  who  would  actively 
boycott  a  movie  on  the  basis  of  the  political  past  of  its  writer  or 
star  is  probably  small,  but  nonetheless  large  enough  to  alert  the 
businessmen  responsible  for  a  million-dollar  picture.  In  the  world 
of  the  Broadway  theatre,  the  audience  is  significantly  different. 

The  New  York  Theatre  relies  on  two  major  groups.  One  is 
composed  of  New  Yorkers  who  are  regular  theatre-goers  —  and 
these  people  would  be  the  last  to  stay  away  from  a  play  because 
they  object  to  the  politics  of  an  actor. 

The  other  group  comes  from  all  over  the  United  States.  It  is 
made  up  of  tourists  and  travelers.  This  group  is  much  more  like 
the  cross-section  of  America  forming  the  movie  and  television 
audience.  In  their  own  home  towns  they  well  might  object  to  a  play 
written  by  someone  named  in  Red  Channels  or  accused  of  "pro- 
communism"  by  the  American  Legion.  But  in  New  York  they  are 
on  holiday  and  are  unlikely  to  be  so  discriminating.  Broadway 
theatre  tickets  are  hard  to  get,  there  are  no  grass-roots  organizations 
of  tourists,  and  the  decision  to  buy  a  ticket  takes  place  in  a  gala 
atmosphere.  The  political  is  simply  not  as  important  as  it  might  be 
back  home. 

How  important  the  New  York  element  is  in  explaining  the  ab- 
sence of  blacklisting  in  the  theatre  can  be  seen  from  the  experiences 
plays  have  had  on  the  road.  In  the  summer  of  1955,  Uta  Hagen 
was  under  attack  in  Chicago.  The  year  before  Jean  Arthur  had 
been  scheduled  to  appear  in  Chicago  in  "Saint  Joan,"  but  the  run 
was  cancelled  due  to  a  combination  of  American  Legion  pressure 
against  another  member  of  the  cast  and  Miss  Arthur's  sickness. 
In  1951,  an  incident  in  Wilmington,  Delaware,  would  probably 
have  resulted  in  closing  a  play  had  it  not  been  for  concerted  action 
on  the  part  of  Equity  and  The  League  of  New  York  Theatres.  And 
in  two  important  cases,  considerable  pressure  was  brought  to  bear 
in  Syracuse,  New  York. 


The  first  case  involved  the  Metropolitan  Opera  production  of 
"Die  Fledermaus."  Jack  Gilford,  a  comedian,  had  been  hired  by 
the  Metropolitan  to  appear  in  a  non-singing  part.  Gilford  received 
considerable  publicity  since  he  was  the  first  comedian  to  be  hired 
by  the  tradition-bound  opera  company.  Gilford  performed  without 
incident  in  New  York  City  but  when  the  opera  went  on  the  road 
a  protest  was  unleashed  in  Syracuse.  The  source  of  this  action  was 
the  Onondaga  County  Post  #41  of  the  American  Legion  which 
works  in  close  cooperation  with  Laurence  Johnson.  Gilford  had 
been  "listed"  in  Red  Channels,  and  the  Legionnaires  demanded  that 
the  Metropolitan  fire  him.  The  opera  company  stood  firm,  how- 
ever, and  Gilford  was  allowed  to  continue  in  the  part. 

The  other  incident  in  Syracuse  involved  a  theatre  operated  by 
Michael  Ellis.  When  Ellis  arrived  in  Syracuse  to  set  up  his  produc- 
tions, the  Legion  group  was  protesting  the  showing  of  some  Chaplin 
films  and  quickly  turned  its  attention  to  the  new  theatre  in  town. 
A  protest  was  made  when  Ellis  announced  that  Albert  Dekker  was 
to  appear  in  one  of  Ellis'  productions.  Dekker  was  withdrawn,  but 
Ellis'  venture  remained  under  fire.  When  it  was  announced  that 
Sylvia  Sydney  would  appear  in  one  of  the  plays  Ellis  scheduled, 
the  pressure  started  up  again.  Box  office  sales  fell  off  sharply,  and 
Ellis  was  forced  to  abandon  the  whole  venture. 

In  general  the  few  actors  who  have  found  it  difficult  to  find 
work  on  Broadway  are  people  so  politically  active  that  their  "un- 
employability"  is  based  on  the  fact  that  they  are  a  nuisance  to  work 
with.  Producers  who  are  quite  willing  to  hire  actors  "listed"  in 
Red  Channels  or  even  those  who  refuse  to  cooperate  with  Congres- 
sional Committees,  draw  the  line  in  cases  where  they  feel  a  per- 
former is  primarily  a  "political  person"  who  also  acts,  rather  than 
an  actor  who  happens  to  take  an  interest  in  politics.  But  these 
cases  are  relatively  few  in  number.  The  exclusion  of  such  per- 
formers is  not  based  on  the  existence  of  any  kind  of  a  "list."  Paul 
Robeson  is  a  good  example. 


One  result  of  blacklisting  was  the  growth  of  the  off-Broadway 
theatre.  Top  talent  became  available  at  off-Broadway  prices.  In 
recent  years,  it  has  been  possible  to  see  well  known  performers 
like  Morris  Carnovsky,  Sono  Osato,  Jack  Gilford  and  Will  Geer  in 
the  little  theatres.  More  often  than  not,  their  shows  have  been 
non-political,  although  some  "social"  drama  has  been  produced. 
There  was  "Sandhog"  by  Waldo  Salt  and  Earl  Robinson,  and 
"Troublemakers"  by  George  Bellak,  but  many  more  presentations 
of  the  theatre  classics  —  Shakespeare,  Ibsen,  Shaw  and  Chekhov. 
In  the  Communist  Masses  and  Mainstream,  Nathaniel  Buchwald 
was  quite  critical  of  some  aspects  of  this  off -Broadway  develop- 
ment, particularly  of  the  failure  of  "social  drama"  to  dominate: 
"In  the  off-Broadway  movement,"  Buchwald  wrote,  "the  poten- 
tially large  progressive  audience  is  yet  to  do  its  part." 

The  off-Broadway  movement  has  been  an  unforeseen  and  gener- 
ally welcome  result  of  the  blacklisting  phenomenon.  Still  it  raises 
another  problem.  Association  with  suspect  actors,  producers, 
directors  or  writers  in  off-Broadway  productions  can  hurt  the  radio- 
tv  chances  of  performers  and  writers.  Laurence  Johnson,  for  in- 
stance, charged  a  well-known  actress  with  having  appeared  at  an 
off-Broadway  theatre  which  employed  people  accused  of  pro- 

It  is  impossible  to  estimate  the  role  of  the  intangibles  in  the 
theatre  and  equally  impossible  to  omit  them  from  a  discussion  of 
blacklisting.  In  Hollywood  and  in  radio-television,  artistic  life  has 
yet  to  create  its  own  traditions.  "There's  no  business  like  show 
business,"  the  dedication  to  the  individualistic,  personal  milieu  of 
the  stage,  has  been  appropriated  by  the  mass  entertainment  world. 
Yet  on  Madison  Avenue  it  has  no  real  roots.  It  is  like  the  manager 
of  a  professional  football  team  exhorting  his  players  with  college 
yells.  But  in  the  legitimate  theatre,  tradition  still  remains  intact 
and  functional.  The  agreement  between  Equity  and  the  League  of 


New  York  Theatres,  even  though,  it  has  had  little  practical  value, 
expresses  an  attitude,  and  the  attitude  is  probably  more  important 
than  any  complicated  machinery  of  arbitration. 

Typical  of  this  attitude  was  the  remark  of  John  Kennedy,  a  pro- 
ducer who  has  been  active  in  Equity  for  many  years.  When  asked 
to  describe  his  personal  politics,  he  said  that  he  was  a  "liberal 
conservative  or  a  conservative  liberal."  He  made  it  absolutely 
clear  that  he  loathed  communism,  at  the  same  time  he  took  a  firm 
stand  against  blacklisting  in  the  theatre.  Kennedy  typifies  the 
"center"  in  Equity  which  has  controlled  the  union  throughout  these 
stormy  years.  It  is  precisely  the  conservatism  of  the  theatrical 
world  which  supports  Equity's  "liberal"  anti-blacklisting  stand. 

In  and  of  itself,  Equity's  experience  is  noteworthy.  It  also  serves 
to  point  up  the  contrast  between  Broadway  and  the  mass  media. 
For  every  element  which  has  worked  to  keep  blacklisting  out  of  the 
Broadway  theatre  is  absent  in  the  mass  media;  conversely,  it  is 
exactly  at  those  points  where  the  movies  and  television  are  unlike 
the  theatre  that  they  are  most  susceptible  to  blacklisting  pressure. 

The  mass  media  are  big  business.  Thus,  the  decision  announced 
at  the  Waldorf  Conference  in  1947,  which  has  formed  the  basis  of 
blacklisting  in  Hollywood  ever  since,  was  not  made  by  the  people 
actually  involved  in  the  production  of  movies.  It  came,  rather, 
from  persons  whose  primary  interest  in  the  films  is  financial.  This 
is  in  sharp  contrast  to  the  situation  hi  the  legitimate  theatre,  where 
financial  backing  is  still  sought  on  an  individual  basis.  An  investor's 
enthusiasm  for  a  particular  play  is  still  important  on  Broadway. 

The  audience  for  movies  and  radio-tv  is  sharply  differentiated 
from  legitimate  theatre  audiences.  In  the  first  case,  the  audience 
is  many  removes  from  the  producer.  It  is  vast,  impersonal.  The 
legitimate  theatre  retains  a  select  audience.  It  does  not  advertise 
in  the  same  way  as  movies  and  radio-television.  It  makes  its  appeals 
on  the  basis  of  the  judgment  of  a  small  group  of  critics  in  New  York 


In  Hollywood  and  on  Madison  Avenue  tradition  is  not  an  im- 
portant force.  It  is  simply  impossible  to  transfer  the  intimate  tradi- 
tions of  the  theatre  to  the  impersonal  mass  media.  The  movies  and 
radio-tv  capitulated  to  pressure  almost  as  soon  as  it  was  applied. 
The  theatre  laid  down  a  program  to  fight  the  pressure,  primarily 
through  the  joint  action  of  unions  and  management. 

In  a  way,  it  may  well  have  been  this  element  of  tradition  which 
worked  to  bring  about  a  sane  union  situation  in  Equity.  For  the 
ideological  mentality  of  the  extreme  right  militates  against  the  tra: 
dition  of  the  theatre,  just  as  the  business  structure  of  the  movie 
industry  is  alien  to  that  tradition. 

The  proponents  of  blacklisting  in  the  entertainment  field  are 
usually  "conservative"  in  their  economic  views,  tending  in  some 
instances  (vide:  the  AWARE,  Inc.  students'  meeting  in  February, 
1955)  to  Manchester  laissez  faire.  Yet  it  is  precisely  the  element 
of  "bigness,"  of  an  un-Manchester  economic  power  acting  mono- 
lithically,  which  made  blacklisting  possible  in  the  movies,  radio 
and  television.  And  it  is  the  legitimate  theatre,  the  most  "free  enter- 
prise" part  of  the  entertainment  world,  which  has  resisted  black- 
listing and  has  based  its  resistance  on  tradition  and  conservatism. 

The  result  is  that  the  theatre  has  a  better  conscience:  it  is  freer. 
The  characteristic  attitude  of  industry  people  in  Hollywood  or  on 
Madison  Avenue  is  compounded  of  fear  and  shame.  The  theatre 
people  are  proud  that  they  have  not  succumbed.  They  are  proud 
of  their  tradition  and  proud  that  they  have  lived  by  it,  even  during 
a  period  of  great  stress  and  assault. 



Typical  letter  sent  to  Networks,  Packagers,  Advertising  Agencies, 
Sponsors,  Talent  Agents 

Dear  Sir:  The  Fund  for  the  Republic  is  sponsoring  a  study  of  employ- 
ment practices  in  the  entertainment  industry.  Rumors  and  charges  of  a 
political  "blacklist,"  the  publicity  given  the  Jean  Muir  case,  the  publication 
of  Red  Channels  and  similar  listings  of  "controversial"  personalities  in  the 
entertainment  field,  among  other  things,  prompted  the  officers  of  the  Fund  to 
initiate  a  full-scale  study  of  the  situation.  A  staff  of  journalists  and  re- 
searchers was  assembled  and  has  been  working  for  several  months. 

We  are  eager  to  produce  as  forthright  and  balanced  a  report  as  possible. 
It  is  in  the  interest  of  doing  so  that  we  are  writing  to  you.  Your  cooperation 
would  add  greatly  to  the  significance  of  the  study. 

In  the  radio-television  field  it  seems  important  that  we  present  accurately 
the  general  position  major  networks  [sponsors,  advertising  agencies,  pack- 
agers] take  with  regard  to  the  employment  of  artists.  Such  questions  as 
the  following  seem  to  be  pertinent: 

(1)  Does  your  organization  hold  that  certain  political  criteria  should  be 
met  by  artists  whom  you  engage,  i.e.  would  you  disapprove  of  hiring 
an  artist 

(a)  named  as  a  Communist  by  a  Government  agency? 

(b)  one  who  was  an  "unfriendly  witness"  before  a  governmental 
investigating  body? 

(c)  one  who  stood  on  the  Fifth  Amendment  before  such  a  body? 

(d)  one  who  has  been  listed  in  such  private  organs  as  Counterattack, 
Red  Channels,  Firing  Line? 

(e)  an  artist  who  in  the  public  mind,  or  at  least  before  a  goodly 
section  of  the  public,  is  deemed  "controversial"? 

(f )  any  other  category? 

(2)  If  such  criteria  are  to  be  met,  does  your  organization  [if  sponsor] 
leave  the  application  of  them  to  the  advertising  agency  and  the  net- 
work or  do  you  take  an  active  interest? 

(3)  Is  it  your  experience  that  the  employment  of  "controversial"  per- 
sonalities hurts  the  sale  of  products? 

(4)  Are  you  satisfied  with  the  way  the  question  has  been  handled  to  date? 
Aside  from  specific  answers  to  these  questions  we  would  be  very  grateful 

for  any  other  comments  on  what  is  surely  a  difficult  and  admittedly  a  deli- 
cate situation. 



Letter  from  Assistant  United  States  Attorney  General 
William  F.  Tompkins: 

This  will  acknowledge  receipt  of  your  letter  of  May  11,  1955,  to  the 
Attorney  General,  with  respect  to  the  so-called  Attorney  General's  list.  The 
replies  to  your  questions  are  set  forth  numerically  below. 

(What  is  the  standing,  in  law,  of  the  Attorney  General's  list?) 

1.  The  so-called  Attorney  General's  list  is  compiled  at  the  direction  of  the 
President  as  contained  in  Executive  Order  10450  relating  to  the  Federal 
Employee  Security  Program.   The  list  is  for  the  guidance  of  the  heads  of 
the  Federal  executive  departments  and  agencies  for  use  in  connection  with 
requests  for  investigation  regarding  employment  or  retention  in  employment 
of  Federal  employees.  Its  content  becomes  public  information  because  it  is 
published  in  the  Federal  Register. 

(In  the  policy  of  your  office,  is  membership  in  an  organization  on  the 
List  considered  proof  of  subversion?) 

2.  The  nature  and  extent  of  membership  in  a  designated  organization  is 
but  one  factor  to  be  considered  in  determining  the  qualifications  of  individ- 
uals   for    employment    or    retention    in    employment    with    the    Federal 

(Is  use  of  the  list  by  private  individuals  authorized  by  your  office?) 

3.  The  Attorney  General's  list  is  issued  solely  for  the  purpose  of  apprizing 
the  heads  of  executive  departments  and  agencies  of  the  Federal  Government 
of  the  names  of  organizations,  membership  in  which  would  warrant  request- 
ing a  full  field  investigation  in  connection  with  the  Federal  Employee  Security 
Program.  The  list  necessarily  enters  the  public  domain  upon  its  publication 
but  this  Department  has  no  authority  to  permit  its  adoption  for  purposes 
other  than  that  for  which  it  is  made. 

(Is  there  any  official  determination  by  the  Government  that  certain  indi- 
viduals are  Communists?  If  so,  which  agencies  make  such  a  determination?) 

4.  No  official  compilation  of  Communists  is  maintained  by  the  Executive 
Branch  of  the  Government. 

Title  I  of  the  Internal  Security  Act  of  1950  requires  the  registration  of 
members  of  a  Communist-action  organization  under  prescribed  conditions 
and  imposes  certain  sanctions  upon  such  members.  Upon  the  failure  of  the 
organization  to  register  its  membership  and  upon  the  failure  of  the  individual 
to  register  himself,  the  Act  provides  that  the  Attorney  General  may  petition 
the  Subversive  Activities  Control  Board  for  an  order  to  compel  such 


The  Board  has  determined  the  Communist  Party  of  the  United  States  of 
America  to  be  a  Communist-action  organization.  However,  under  the  Act 
no  action  against  individuals  can  be  undertaken  until  the  Party  has  exhausted 
its  appellate  remedies.  No  voluntary  registrations  have  been  made. 

(Is  the  statement  of  a  Congressional  Committee  that  an  individual 
is  a  Communist  considered  an  official  statement  of  the  United  States 

5.  The  statement  of  a  Congressional  committee  that  a  citizen  is  a  Com- 
munist is  not  considered  as  an  official  statement  of  the  United  States  Govern- 
ment. It  is  a  statement  of  a  committee  of  the  legislative  branch  of  the 
Government,  and  we  can  express  no  opinion  upon  the  authority  of  one 
committee  to  speak  officially  for  the  Congress.  It  certainly  is  not  an  official 
statement  of  the  executive  branch  of  the  Government. 




Research  Center  for  Human  Relations 
New  York  University 


This  study  was  conducted  at  the  Research  Center  for  Human  Relations 
whose  entire  staff  contributed  at  various  occasions  to  its  content.  Particular 
thanks  are  due  to  Mr.  Gerald  Hogue  who  was  in  charge  of  the  field  work  for 
the  morale  survey  and  cooperated  in  the  development  of  the  interview  sched- 
ule. In  addition,  Drs.  Stuart  W.  Cook,  Isidor  Chein  and  Eva  Rosenfeld 
helped  in  the  planning  stages  and  throughout  the  conduct  of  the  study. 
Thanks  are  due  all  persons  who  permitted  themselves  to  be  interviewed  or  to 
discuss  the  complicated  problems  of  the  industry  with  the  author.  It  is  an 
unfortunate  symptom  of  the  climate  of  the  times  that  they  cannot  here  be 
identified  by  name. 

The  study  was  done  at  the  initiation  of  the  Fund  for  the  Republic  and  with 
a  grant  from  it.  Thanks  are  due  to  this  foundation  for  its  consistent  effort, 
here  and  in  other  matters,  to  bring  rational  considerations  to  bear  on  the 
controversial  issues  of  our  time. 

December,  1955 


National  Security,  the  Climate  of  Opinion 
and  the  Entertainment  Industry 

During  the  last  few  years  the  grave  problem  of  internal  security  has 
been  a  central  concern  for  many  persons  of  very  diverse  views  and 
values.  In  particular,  governmental  measures  designed  to  ensure  that  no 
subversive  elements  be  retained  in  government  service  have  given  rise 
to  a  heated  national  debate  which  at  times  threatened  to  submerge  in- 
terest in  all  other  national  and  international  issues  confronting  the  coun- 
try. Gradually,  the  exchange  of  accusations  and  counter-accusations 
has  begun  to  subside,  and  is  giving  way  to  a  more  rational  approach  to 
the  problem  of  security.  There  is  by  now  widespread  agreement  among 
unquestionably  loyal  citizens  of  the  country  that  ways  and  means  must 
be  found  to  avoid  the  excesses  of  the  recent  past  without  endangering 
national  security.  A  presidential  committee  has  been  appointed  to  re- 
view and  suggest  revisions  of  governmental  security  procedures;  the 
stand  which  courageous  individuals  of  both  major  political  parties  have 
taken  on  the  unintended  and  undesirable  consequences  of  security  pro- 
cedures has  had  its  impact  on  the  climate  of  thought  in  the  country. 

But  the  impetus  of  earlier  excesses  has  not  yet  been  spent.  And  many 
fear  that  a  slight  reversal  in  the  international  situation  or  the  unforesee- 
able symptoms  of  the  political  fever  ordinarily  produced  in  a  major 
election  campaign  may  throw  us  back  where  we  were  a  little  while  ago. 
This,  then,  is  a  crucial  and  perhaps  short  period  in  which  the  climate 
of  thought  can  be  rationally  assessed  and  discussed. 

It  is  of  particular  importance  that  the  unanticipated  consequences  of 
governmental  security  procedures  be  brought  into  full  light.  They  are 
easily  overlooked  in  periods  of  crisis.  There  are  two  such  consequences 
which  have  especially  affected  the  climate  and  policies  in  organizations 
and  industries  outside  the  government. 

One  stems  from  what  is  perhaps  the  most  difficult  issue  in  the  gov- 
ernmental security  procedures:  the  vagueness  of  the  criteria  for  identi- 
fying an  untrustworthy  person  in  government  service  before  that  person 
has  done  harm  to  his  country.  The  problem  and  the  consequences  of 
handling  it  in  the  current  fashion  have  been  described  elsewhere  in  the 
following  terms:* 

*  Ideological  Compliance  as  a  Social-Psychological  Process,  by  Marie  Jahoda  and 
Stuart  W.  Cook,  in  Totalitarianism,  Carl  J.  Friedrich,  ed.,  Harvard  University  Press, 


"Is  every  Communist  a  potential  spy  or  saboteur?  Is  every  student  of 
Marx  a  danger  to  the  security  of  the  country?  Is  every  member  of  an  organi- 
zation which  includes  Communists  to  be  distrusted?  How  should  the  internal 
enemy  be  identified?  By  oath?  By  his  reading  habits?  By  views  which  are 
shared  by  Communists?  By  his  associations? 

"The  answers  to  these  questions  are  not  easy.  The  Federal  Bureau  of 
Investigation  collects  all  information  which  might  possibly  be  relevant  to 
the  appraisal  of  individual  cases.  Since  government  investigators  are  asking 
questions  about  membership  in  all  kinds  of  organizations,  about  political 
views  and  opinions  on  various  social  problems,  about  interests  and  reading 
matter  and  other  items  of  the  kind,  the  impression  has  been  created  that  to 
credit  somebody  with  an  active  organizational  life,  with  unorthodox  or  even 
only  outspoken  views  on  public  affairs,  with  extensive  reading  habits,  and  so 
forth,  is  a  disservice  to  him.  The  thought  naturally  arises  that  if  such  things 
are  asked  about,  in  the  eyes  of  the  government  they  must  be  questionable. 
There  is  only  a  brief  step  from  feeling  that  it  is  not  wise  to  describe  one's 
friends  in  this  way,  to  the  conclusion  that  it  is  not  wise  to  have  such  activities 
to  one's  own  credit. 

"A  variety  of  self-appointed  individuals  and  groups  have  taken  the  next 
step  in  the  process.  Though  having  no  official  connection  with  the  machinery 
through  which  national  security  is  protected,  and  perhaps  not  always  moti- 
vated by  a  concern  for  national  security,  they  publicly  call  attention  to  the 
records  of  individuals  who  deviate  from  their  standards  of  acceptable 
behavior.  What  they  emphasize  is  quite  similar  to  the  areas  checked  upon 
by  official  investigators;  the  important  difference  is  that,  whereas  the  official 
investigations  are  confidential,  the  unofficial  ones  are  broadcast  as  widely  as 
possible.  Such  publicity  makes  the  pressure  to  conform,  of  course,  much 
stronger.  One  is  in  constant  danger  of  public  exposure  as  an  individual 
associated  with  activities  about  which  questions  are  asked. 

"The  final  increment  is  supplied  by  employers.  Advertisers,  businessmen, 
school  authorities,  movie  producers,  all  hesitate  to  hire  or  retain  employees 
thus  singled  out,  since  this  may  offend  some  client,  customer,  or  patron." 

Thus,  the  original  idea  of  protecting  the  national  security  by  collect- 
ing circumstantial  evidence  in  many  directions,  to  be  appraised  in  toto 
and  in  conjunction  with  other  data  in  order  to  see  whether  all  evidence 
converges  to  justifying  strong  suspicion,  has  given  way  to  regarding  a 
few  items  of  information,  and  often  only  one,  as  proof  of  an  employee's 
undesirability  in  an  organization  which  may  have  no  possible  connec- 
tion with  matters  affecting  national  security. 

The  other  consequence  of  current  governmental  procedures  is  that 
outside  the  government  the  motivation  behind  these  procedures  has 


been  obscured  and  often  replaced  by  new  motivations.  The  govern- 
mental measures  aimed  at  protecting  national  security  against  a  potential 
internal  enemy.  Even  within  the  government,  many  federal  employees 
felt  that  other  motivations  were  involved  in  the  application  of  the  secu- 
rity procedures.*  Outside  the  government  there  seems  to  have  occurred 
a  much  more  radical  change  in  motivation  for  what,  with  little  apparent 
justification,  is  often  still  referred  to  as  security  procedures.  When,  for 
example,  tenants  in  public  housing  projects  are  asked  to  sign  a  loyalty 
oath,  the  security  implication  is  not  obvious.  Nor  is  it  clear  how  the 
security  of  the  nation  will  be  strengthened  if  books  written  by  suspected 
authors  are  removed  from  library  shelves,  or  teachers  against  whose 
teaching  there  is  no  complaint,  are  made  unemployed  and  even  unem- 
ployable because  they  claimed  the  protection  of  the  Fifth  Amendment 
to  the  Constitution. 

The  new  motivation  is  rarely  made  explicit.  Judging  by  the  nation- 
wide debate  on  the  subject  it  appears  as  if  the  purposes  behind  many 
private  so-called  security  measures  cover  a  wide  range:  some  persons 
wish  to  eliminate  Communist  ideas;  others  want  to  eliminate  persons 
proven  or  suspected  of  being  Communists  or  fellow-travelers  from  all 
walks  of  life  either  because  they  fear  that  a  fair  proportion  of  the 
income  of  such  people  will  be  given  to  the  Communist  Party  or  because 
they  want  to  punish  such  people  for  their  convictions;  still  others  seem 
to  be  seeking  revenge  for  their  own  or  other  people's  earlier  gullibility. 
And  some  persons  suggest  that  even  more  naked  self-interest  —  in  terms 
of  wishes  for  personal  power  or  financial  gain  — plays  a  role  in  the 
motivation  of  many  private  organizations  and  individuals  who  have  set 
themselves  up  as  judges  over  other  people's  beliefs  and  ideas. 

Different  persons  will,  of  course,  have  different  judgments  on  the 
"goodness"  of  the  motivations  in  this  array.  In  any  case,  there  is  a 
common  denominator  to  these  motives  in  that  they  have  little,  if  any, 
bearing  on  the  security  issue  even  though  they  have  undoubtedly  come 
to  the  fore  because  of  the  nation's  concern  with  problems  of  internal 
security.  The  relevant  aspects  of  the  climate  of  opinion  in  the  country 
consequently  tend  to  be  less  concerned  with  security  considerations 
than  with  ideological  purity;  and  this  concern,  reflecting  the  diversity 

*  Some  evidence  of  the  range  of  suspected  motivations  is  given  in  "Security  Meas- 
ures and  Freedom  of  Thought,"  by  Marie  Jahoda  and  Stuart  W.  Cook,  Yale  Law 
Journal,  March,  1952. 


of  motivations,  is  confused  and  confounded  by  the  absence  of  generally 
accepted  criteria  for  identifying  the  impure. 

The  radio  and  television  industry  is  particularly  sensitive,  in  every 
respect,  to  the  country's  climate  of  opinion.  This  is  hardly  surprising 
since  the  financial  structure  of  the  industry  is  bound  up  with  public 
favor.  Many  millions  of  dollars  are  spent  by  sponsors  on  radio  and 
television  in  order  to  impress  an  audience  whose  responses  to  these 
media  cannot  be  immediately  observed.  The  enormous  size  of  the 
audience  makes  it  understandable  that  the  industry  is  much  concerned 
with  broad  currents  of  public  opinion;  the  anonymity  of  the  audience 
makes  it  understandable  that  the  various  devices  to  gauge  the  popularity 
of  a  program  are  taken  as  yardsticks  of  success.  But  most  policy  makers 
are  fully  aware  that  appraisals  of  public  opinion  are  precarious  and  that 
rating  devices  do  not  fully  penetrate  behind  the  anonymity  of  the  audi- 
ence. In  this  situation,  any  spontaneous  communication  from  members 
of  the  audience  by  mail  or  telephone  assumes  considerable  importance. 

On  all  levels  of  the  industry,  from  the  actor  who  gets  one  or  two 
minor  parts  a  year  to  top  level  performers  and  top  level  executives  of 
networks,  advertising  agencies,  packaging  firms  and  sponsors,  stories 
abound  about  the  elation  occasioned  by  a  handful  of  favorable  mail  from 
the  public,  and  the  depression  resulting  from  a  similarly  small  number 
of  critical  communications.  To  be  sure,  people  concerned  with  enter- 
tainment may  be  occupationally  more  alert  than  most  to  appreciate  a 
good  story  when  it  comes  along,  and  this  may  have  resulted  in  an  exag- 
geration of  the  importance  attached  to  spontaneous  audience  response. 
However,  the  elaborate  process  of  control  and  revision  through  which  a 
prospective  program  has  to  pass  before  it  goes  on  the  air  gives  some 
measure  of  the  degree  to  which  public  favor,  or  at  least  absence  of 
public  disfavor,  is  a  major  prize  for  which  the  industry  strives. 

Stripped  to  bare  essentials,  the  assumptions  underlying  the  effort  not 
to  offend  the  audience  can  be  presented  as  follows:  It  is  as  if  the  shop- 
ping process  of  the  American  housewife  proceeded  in  the  following 
fashion:  (1)  she  watches  a  television  show  sponsored,  for  example,  by 
a  toothpaste  firm;  (2)  when  she  next  finds  herself  in  a  drugstore  ready 
to  buy  a  toothpaste  she  consciously  or  unconsciously  recalls  to  mind  not 
only  the  name  of  the  product  and  the  promises  contained  hi  the  com- 
mercial, but  the  entire  show,  her  liking  for  or  boredom  with  it,  and  all 
she  knows  about  individual  performers  on  it;  and  (3)  she  then  decides, 


in  the  light  of  such  appraisal,  whether  or  not  to  try  the  brand.  Top 
executives,  confronted  with  this  hypothetical  schema  and  the  psycho- 
logical unlikelihood  that  shopping  actually  proceeds  in  this  fashion, 
answer,  as  a  rule,  that  there  is  no  definitive  evidence  that  such  cases  do 
not  occur  and,  since  they  can  entertain  the  public  without  taking  risks, 
the  sensible  course  is  to  avoid  them. 

The  assumption  that  an  individual  housewife  regards  shopping  as  a 
conscious  and  purposeful  political  act  was  deliberately  formulated  in 
an  extreme  fashion  in  discussions  with  leaders  of  the  industry  so  as  to 
test  the  limits  of  the  industry's  concern  with  political  matters.  It  has 
been  pointed  out,  however,  that  the  problem  confronting  the  industry 
is  more  complicated  and  their  concern  more  rational  than  this  extreme 
formulation  suggests.  For  even  if  it  were  generally  agreed  that  the  indi- 
vidual housewife  is  innocent  of  all  political  considerations  in  her  shop- 
ping act,  the  sponsor's  business  is  dependent  not  only  on  individual 
housewives  but,  and  perhaps  more  directly,  on  the  middleman,  the 
retailer,  managers  or  buyers  who  decide  to  give  one  brand  preference 
over  another.  This  is  a  much  smaller  group  of  persons;  a  group  un- 
doubtedly much  better  informed  about  business  policies,  and  a  group 
which  —  because  of  its  small  size  and  clearly  defined  position  —  can 
perhaps  be  much  more  easily  reached  and  influenced  by  pressure 
groups.  Not  to  antagonize  these  middlemen  is  an  understandable 
rational  desire  on  the  part  of  the  industry. 

It  would  be  wrong,  however,  to  assume  that  these  limitations  inevi- 
tably imposed  by  the  financial  structure  of  the  industry  are  so  severe 
that  no  other  considerations  enter  into  the  formulation  of  policy.  Not 
only  are  most  responsible  people  concerned  with  the  quality  of  enter- 
tainment, but  —  as  network  executives  have  pointed  out  —  controversies 
of  various  kinds  are  actually  presented  on  the  air.  Within  the  last  year 
or  two,  the  nation-wide  controversy  about  the  manner  in  which  internal 
security  problems  are  handled  by  certain  individuals,  committees  and 
groups  has  found  its  place  in  radio  and  television;  a  few  commentators 
can  look  back  on  an  even  longer  record  of  dealing  on  the  air  with  this 
most  controversial  issue.  What  controversies  are  treated  by  radio  and 
television,  and  at  what  time,  must  of  course  be  decided  by  general 
policy  decisions.  The  issue  then  becomes  one  of  drawing  the  line, 
which  here  —  as  everywhere  else  —  hardly  ever  separates  black  and 
white  but  different  shades  of  grey. 


Not  only  with  regard  to  content  but  also  in  questions  of  employment 
policy,  with  which  this  report  is  mainly  concerned,  the  limitations 
imposed  by  the  financial  structure  of  the  industry  require  complicated 
and  immensely  difficult  policy  decisions.  In  this  area  it  is  hardly  sur- 
prising to  see  the  entertainment  industry  —  with  its  sensitivity  to  the 
climate  of  opinion,  its  concern  for  public  favor,  its  wish  to  avoid  prov- 
ocation of  pressure  groups,  and  its  existing  machinery  for  barring  from 
the  air  anything  assumed  to  be  detrimental  to  the  business  purposes  of 
the  industry  —  becoming  enmeshed  in  a  variety  of  procedures,  com- 
monly referred  to  as  "blacklisting'*,  which  reflect  the  developments 
initiated  by  the  country's  concern  with  internal  security.  It  is  the  pur- 
pose of  the  present  study  to  explore  what  these  practices  mean  within 
the  industry. 

Scope  and  Purpose  of  this  Study 

The  exploration  of  the  role  of  "blacklisting"  within  the  entertainment 
industry  can,  of  course,  take  various  directions.  A  number  of  them  are 
pursued  in  other  sections  of  the  larger  inquiry  of  which  this  study  forms 
a  part.  The  focus  here  is  on  the  climate  of  opinion  within  radio  and 
television  with  regard  to  "blacklisting";  it  is  a  study  of  certain  aspects 
of  morale. 

The  study  proceeded  in  three  major  steps.  It  began  with  a  general 
period  of  exploration  of  the  work  situation  in  the  industry.  This  in- 
cluded a  study  of  what  is  available  in  the  literature,  the  technical  pub- 
lications of  the  industry  —  especially  Variety  —  and  publications  such  as 
Counterattack,  Red  Channels,  The  Firing  Line  (published  by  the 
National  Americanism  Committee  of  the  American  Legion),  Aware, 
Inc.;  also  the  files  available  on  the  subject  at  the  American  Civil  Lib- 
erties Union,  including  reports  on  cases  of  alleged  "blacklisting",  and 
relevant  clippings  from  the  daily  press  on  a  nation-wide  basis  over 
several  years,  reports  of  Congressional  Committees,  etc.  During  this 
first  orientation  period  prolonged  discussions  and  interviews  were  held 
with  24  experts  in  the  field  of  radio  and  television  and  related  research 
areas.  Among  them  were  four  psychologists,  one  psychiatrist,  two 
sociologists,  one  lawyer,  two  critics;  but  mostly  top  level  commentators, 
actors  and  writers  for  the  industry,  who  knew  the  field  not  simply  as 
interested  observers  but  from  daily  experience. 

The  second  step  consisted  of  an  interview  survey  with  persons  cur- 


rently  employed  in  the  industry.*  The  first  half  of  the  interview  was 
concerned  with  a  series  of  questions  about  the  industry  in  general,  the 
satisfactions  and  frustrations  it  offered  to  the  person  interviewed,  his 
current  activities  and  his  hopes  for  the  future,  his  views  of  human  rela- 
tions in  general  among  personnel  in  the  industry,  and  the  like.  Then 
the  interview  turned  to  the  problem  of  "blacklisting",  eliciting  the 
person's  beliefs  about  the  factual  situation,  his  feelings  about  it,  his 
approval  or  disapproval  of  what  he  saw  as  the  facts,  his  knowledge 
about  procedures  used  in  implementing  policies  designed  to  exclude 
alleged  Communists,  his  assumptions  about  the  motivation  for  such 
procedures,  the  adjustment  that  he  himself  and  others  around  him  had 
made  to  the  situation,  and  so  on.  The  final  phase  of  the  interview  asked 
the  respondent  to  relate  the  problems  of  the  industry  in  general  which 
he  had  discussed  in  the  first  half  of  the  interview  to  the  problem  of 

The  third  step  consisted  of  a  small  number  of  interviews  with  policy 
makers  in  networks,  advertising  agencies  and  packaging  firms.  The 
purpose  of  these  interviews  was  to  acquaint  leaders  in  the  industry  with 
the  picture  obtained  from  step  two,  to  elicit  their  comments  on  this 
picture  and  to  discuss  with  them  possible  ways  of  improving  the  situa- 
tion. The  expectation  that  no  industry,  let  alone  one  as  sensitive  to 
public  opinion  as  the  entertainment  industry,  could  remain  impervious 
to  public  opinion  within  its  own  ranks,  was  by  and  large  confirmed. 
Some  necessary  qualifications  of  this  statement  will  emerge  later  on. 

Altogether,  in  the  three  steps  of  the  study  about  one  hundred  and 
twenty  interviews  were  conducted.  For  the  morale  survey  experienced 
interviewers,  most  of  whom  had  some  familiarity  with  radio  and  tele- 
vision, were  specially  trained  for  the  task. 

For  reasons  that  have  to  do  with  the  structure  of  the  television  and 
radio  industry,  statements  reporting  the  statistics  of  the  returns  in 
sample  surveys  of  the  views  of  its  employees  are  subject  to  special 
qualifications.  Ordinarily,  a  survey  is  based  on  data  of  a  sample  selected 
so  as  to  be  representative  of  the  entire  population  in  which  one  is  inter- 
ested. The  prerequisite  for  drawing  such  a  sample  is  that  a  complete 
list  be  available  or  that,  at  least,  the  population  be  definable  in  some 
precise  way.  This  prerequisite  cannot  be  satisfied  for  radio  and  tele- 

*  A  copy  of  the  interview  schedule  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix,  together  with 
summaries  of  the  answers  received  to  the  individual  questions. 


vision  in  New  York  City.  Employee  lists  from  networks,  even  if  they 
could  have  been  obtained,  would  be  of  little  help.  Many  persons  work 
for  several  networks;  others  are  employed  not  by  networks  but  by 
advertising  agencies  or  packagers.  Still  others,  particularly  writers,  work 
on  a  free-lance  basis,  with  or  without  the  help  of  an  agent.  Figures 
from  the  unions,  if  they  could  have  been  obtained,  would  not  have  pro- 
vided a  sound  base  because,  while  the  profession  is  100%  unionized, 
many  persons  maintain  membership  in  the  union  even  though  they  have 
not  been  employed  for  a  year  or  more,  or  their  employment  was  re- 
stricted to  one  or  two  appearances  during  a  year.  Thus,  it  is  virtually 
impossible  (unless  one  wanted  to  make  this  in  itself  a  major  focus  of 
study)  to  say  how  many  persons  work  in  the  industry  in  New  York 
City,  to  say  nothing  of  who  they  are,  and  hence,  what  kind  of  sample 
would  truly  represent  the  views  and  values  of  the  industry's  personnel. 
Nevertheless,  particular  care  was  taken  in  selecting  persons  to  be 
included  in  the  morale  survey  (step  two  of  the  study),  not  because  we 
were  aiming  for  precise  numerical  estimates,  but  in  order  to  minimize 
the  possibility  of  bias  in  selection.*  It  should  be  noted  that  special  pre- 

*  Lists  of  about  6000  names  were  available  from  several  sources:  Ross  Reports 
on  Television,  The  Radio  Annual  —  Television  Yearbook,  1954,  the  Players'  Guide, 
Exchange.  By  arbitrary  decision,  every  wth  name  was  selected  from  these  lists  and 
and  the  listings  of  the  Hayes  Registry,  Radio  Registry,  and  Radio  Artists  Telephone 
checked  as  to  its  suitability  for  the  general  sample  plan.  This  plan  contained  the 
following  specifications:  a  third  of  the  sample  was  to  be  drawn  from  persons 
oriented  primarily  to  radio  and  two-thirds  from  persons  oriented  primarily  to 
television.  Within  each  group  three  types  of  activities  should  be  represented:  talent; 
producers  and  directors;  and  writers,  news  analysts,  and  commentators.  Within 
these  activity  groups  persons  on  various  levels  of  success  (top  level,  medium  and 
low)  should  be  included.  If  a  person  selected  from  the  list  did  not  fit  the  sample 
plan,  the  immediately  following  name  which  fitted  the  prescribed  requirement  was 
substituted.  The  level  of  success  was  determined  in  consultation  with  the  organi- 
zation publishing  the  Ross  Reports  where  a  corresponding  classification  of  industry 
personnel  is  independently  done.  The  same  substitution  procedure  was  followed 
in  25  cases  where  selected  respondents  refused  to  cooperate,  most  of  them  pleading 
pressure  of  time,  a  few  lack  of  interest.  It  should  be  noted  that  almost  30%  of  the 
individuals  approached  declined  to  be  interviewed.  This  is  an  additional  reason  for 
taking  numerical  results  with  caution.  To  be  sure,  there  was  no  mention  of  "black- 
listing" in  the  first  contact  made  with  the  respondent  by  phone,  nor  in  the  letter 
introducing  the  interviewer  (the  text  of  the  letter  is  given  in  the  appendix),  but  we 
do  not  know  whether  there  might  be  systematic  differences  between  the  kind  of 
people  who  are  and  those  who  are  not  willing  to  be  interviewed  on  the  subject  of 
satisfactions  and  dissatisfactions  of  working  in  the  entertaniment  industry. 


cautions  were  taken  to  interview  only  persons  who  were  currently 
employed;  that  means  persons  who  were  not  "blacklisted."  This  is 
important  for  the  interpretation  of  the  data:  what  they  told  the  inter- 
viewers about  blacklisting  procedures  is  not  based  on  direct  personal 
experience,  but  on  their  beliefs  and  opinions  formed  on  the  basis  of 
what  they  heard  from  others.  This  report  is  not  concerned  with  factual 
procedures;  it  is  limited  to  the  psychological  field. 

The  sample  for  the  morale  survey  consists  of  64  respondents.  Twenty- 
three  are  in  radio  (though  half  of  them  also  have  some  experience  with 
television);  41  are  in  television,  either  "live"  or  "film".  Twenty  re- 
spondents are  top  level,  23  medium,  and  21  low  or  marginal.  In  terms 
of  activity,  the  sample  includes  23  talent,  20  producers  and  directors, 
and  21  writers,  news  analysts,  or  commentators.  These  three  categories 
of  persons  will  be  referred  to  in  the  report  collectively  as  talent,  i.e.,  as 
persons  whose  main  job  consists  of  shaping  or  presenting  creatively 
what  goes  over  the  air.  This  choice  of  words  may  not  be  ideal.  The 
word  employee,  however,  could  easily  be  misunderstood  to  embrace 
also  managerial,  technical  and  office  personnel  who  are  not  represented 
in  the  survey;  furthermore,  some  persons  are  included  in  the  survey 
who  are  not  employees  in  the  sense  of  receiving  regular  specified  wages. 
It  is  a  sign  of  the  youth  of  the  industry  that  it  has  not  yet  developed  a 
generally  accepted  terminology. 

The  Employment  Situation  of  Talent:  An  Aspect  of  Morale 

Morale  is  a  complex  response  to  a  complex  situation  in  every  industry. 
Morale  among  talent  in  radio  and  television  is  for  a  number  of  reasons 
even  more  complex  than  elsewhere. 

Both  media,  but  in  particular  television  with  its  meteoric  rise,  are 
moulders  and  symbols  of  our  cultural  climate.  More  immediately  but 
also  more  fleetingly  than  media  which  create  lasting  records  do  they 
penetrate  into  virtually  every  American  home.  The  size  of  their  audi- 
ence is  unparalleled.  As  is  so  often  the  case,  technical  and  commercial 
inventiveness  are  far  ahead  of  our  social  and  psychological  knowledge 
about  the  manner  in  which  these  media  influence  the  quality  of  living 
of  our  people.  Do  they  enrich  or  impoverish?  Do  they  encourage 
diversity  or  are  they  conducive  to  conformity?  Do  they  spread  ideas 
and  stimulate  thought,  or  do  they  dull  the  imagination?  Do  they  accom- 


plish  some  of  these  things  in  certain  respects  or  in  certain  people  and 
their  opposites  in  others? 

No  one  is  yet  in  a  position  to  answer  these  questions  on  the  basis  of 
rational  appraisal.  But  the  questions  are  in  the  air.  They  are  asked 
not  only  by  detached  observers  but  in  various  forms  by  every  thinking 
person  in  the  field.  Their  very  existence  illustrates  the  spirit  of  excite- 
ment and  pioneering  which  pervades  the  entire  industry.  There  can  be 
no  doubt  that  this  spirit  itself  has  a  significant  bearing  on  the  morale  of 
all  personnel  in  radio  and  television. 

It  would  be  presumptuous  to  deal  here  with  these  and  other  broad 
aspects  of  morale.  On  the  other  hand,  it  would  be  foolish  to  talk  about 
"blacklisting"  as  if  it  could  be  viewed  in  isolation  from  other  facets  of 
the  industry  which  exhilarate  or  depress,  gratify  or  annoy  its  talent.  To 
provide  the  proper  context  we  will  deal  with  a  limited  aspect  of  morale 
only:  the  employment  situation  as  it  is  experienced  by  the  talent  of  the 
industry.  No  claim  can  be  made  that  even  this  much  more  limited  field 
is  comprehensively  explored.  Rather,  we  have  selected  a  few  aspects 
which  appear  to  us  to  form  an  indispensable  background  for  understand- 
ing the  views  of  talent  on  the  primary  subject  matter  of  this  report. 

Undoubtedly  the  economic  situation  is  of  great  importance,  par- 
ticularly the  labor  market.  In  discussions  of  this  topic,  one  phrase 
recurred  again  and  again:  in  radio  and  television  there  are  at  least  ten 
candidates  for  every  job  to  be  filled.  There  is  no  way  of  knowing  how 
accurate  this  alleged  proportion  is.  For  all  we  know,  it  may  be  five  to 
one  or  it  may  be  twenty  to  one  or  some  other  ratio.  But  the  accuracy  of 
the  estimate  is  negligible  compared  to  the  unanimity  of  the  belief  that 
there  is  a  virtually  inexhaustible  reservoir  of  would-be  radio  and  tele- 
vision talent  available. 

The  excess  of  labor  supply  over  demand  is  in  itself  an  indication  that 
the  entertainment  world  has  not  lost  its  glamour  and  appeal  as  it 
entered,  through  radio  and  television,  the  era  of  mass  production.  The 
attitude  toward  their  work  of  the  persons  interviewed  is  overwhelmingly 
positive.  People  on  top,  medium,  and  low  level;  talent,  producers  and 
writers  —  most  of  them  mention  sooner  or  later  in  the  interview  the 
potentially  tremendous  satisfactions  that  entertaining  holds  out  for  the 
entertainer.  They  speak  of  radio  and  TV  as  superior  media  of  expres- 
sion, of  their  creative  urges,  of  the  thrill  in  knowing  that  millions  of 
people  see  or  hear  them,  of  the  satisfaction  in  meeting  the  challenge 


of  a  new  medium,  of  the  variety  of  work,  its  spontaneity,  and  of  course 
of  the  fact  that  it  gives  them  a  living. 

One  prominent  actor  says,  for  example:  "What  I  like  most?  Every 
night  is  an  opening  night.  I  like  the  spontaneity,  precision,  and  the 
opportunity  to  serve."  A  producer:  "It's  a  challenging  business.  The 
huge  audience  available  to  you  is  a  great  stimulation.  It's  an  incredibly 
disciplining  medium.  TV  is  relentless  and  consuming  —  another  reason 
why  I  like  it.  And  its  talents  are  youngest  and  freshest.  I  have  met 
some  wonderful  people."  An  actress:  "The  liveliness  of  it.  There's 
never  a  repetition.  There  is  not  enough  time  to  rehearse,  but  it's  con- 
tinuous action.  You  get  a  chance  to  play  so  many  things."  A  director: 
"What  do  you  mean  what  I  like  best?  It's  my  business,  it's  my  life,  I 
like  it  all."  And  a  producer:  "You  get  an  artistic  satisfaction  from 
making  people  happy.  I  get  thousands  of  fan  letters.  And  you  make  a 
lot  of  money  in  this  business." 

This  enthusiastic  identification  with  the  world  of  entertainment  is 
occasionally  qualified.  To  be  sure,  only  two  out  of  all  our  respondents 
felt  like  leaving  the  entertainment  field  altogether.  But  about  one-third 
said  they  would  rather  work  in  the  theater  or  in  movies  than  in  radio 
or  television;  and  50%  of  the  respondents  mention  "the  money"  as  one 
of  the  things  they  like  best  about  their  jobs.  We  have  no  comparable 
data  from  other  professions  to  evaluate  whether  this  is  a  comparatively 
high  or  low  percentage.  On  the  other  hand  the  interviews  indicate  the 
sense  in  which  the  financial  rewards  offered  by  the  industry  are  of 
peculiar  significance  to  its  talent.  To  be  sure,  money  is  valued  for  the 
good  things  it  can  buy.  But  in  addition,  much  more  than  in  most  other 
occupations,  it  is  a  major  symbol  of  prestige  and  achievement,  and 
conveys  a  sense  of  professional  security  far  beyond  the  matter  of  secur- 
ity from  want. 

The  need  for  such  reassurance  is  not  hard  to  understand.  It  requires 
no  special  psychological  insight  to  realize  that  the  very  attractiveness  of 
radio  and  television,  as  demonstrated  in  the  labor  market  situation,  and 
its  rapid  development  are  not  conducive  to  a  sense  of  job-security. 
Indeed,  a  fairly  large  proportion  of  talent  do  not  know  the  security 
which  goes  with  the  status  of  an  employee  who  receives  a  monthly 
check  for  a  month's  work  and  can  look  forward  to  receiving  it  regu- 
larly. Many  of  them  are  free-lance,  or  hired  for  short  periods.  The 
continuation  of  a  show  depends  on  intangible  factors  over  which  the 


individual  has  no  control.  Sponsors,  advertising  agencies,  and  networks 
constantly  develop  new  ideas  and  programs  which  may  dispense  with 
the  special  qualities  one  person  has  to  offer. 

Many  who  were  just  able  to  get  their  foot  into  this  coveted  field  by 
obtaining  a  minor  part  know  full  well  that  there  are  hundreds  who 
could  perform  this  small  function  equally  well.  And  they  know  that 
the  casting  officers  know  this  too.  They  may  firmly  believe  that  they 
could  prove  their  mettle  if  given  a  bigger  chance.  But  for  the  time  being, 
those  lucky  enough  to  find  employment  in  minor  parts  are  without  a 
direct  yardstick  by  which  to  judge  their  own  achievement,  and  without 
a  way  of  forming  an  estimate  of  the  security  of  their  job.  The  rate  of 
pay  is  the  only  substitute  indication  they  have  for  assessing  themselves 
as  they  appear  in  the  eyes  of  others. 

Star  performers,  though  for  different  reasons,  often  share  this  sense 
of  insecurity.  They  fear  that  the  audience  may  be  surfeited  with  their 
type  of  show  and  that  ratings  may  go  down.  Many  of  them  are  firmly 
convinced  that  there  is  no  way  back  once  a  person  has  passed  the  peak 
of  his  popularity. 

In  such  an  inevitably  insecure  employment  situation,  it  would  not 
be  surprising  if  talent,  in  an  effort  to  maintain  their  own  self-esteem, 
attributed  the  greater  success  of  others  to  unfair  tactics  of  competition. 
And  a  few  actually  do  so.  Some  of  the  interviewees  tell  about  young 
women  who  "slept  their  way  up"  to  prominence,  about  favoritism  for 
relatives,  and  the  like.  But  an  overwhelming  percentage  of  the  re- 
spondents think  that  the  most  successful  people  in  their  field  reached  the 
top  because  they  deserved  it.  Of  the  persons  who  answered  this  ques- 
tion, two-thirds  assert  this  notion  of  deserved  success  without  qualifica- 
tions. Almost  all  the  others  believe  that  ability  and  hard  work  are 
important  factors  in  success  in  the  field,  but  they  also  mention  luck,  a 
"good  break,"  and  "knowing  the  right  people." 

Another  factor  in  the  employment  situation  of  talent  which  bears 
on  morale  is  the  nature  of  human  relations  in  the  industry.  The  com- 
munication between  management  and  talent,  the  understanding  they 
have  of  each  other,  the  compatibility  of  their  interests  and  their  degree 
of  mutual  confidence  are  important  aspects  of  morale.  There  are  two 
apparently  contradictory  sets  of  stereotypes  which  exist  simultaneously 
in  the  field:  the  easy  going  camaraderie  of  show  people  versus  the  cut- 
throat competitiveness  of  the  entertainment  industry;  the  devotion  of  a 


team  to  a  creative  and  artistic  task  versus  the  mechanical  routine  of  an 
entertainment  machinery  which  interferes  with  creativity,  dilutes  high 
standards  and  has  no  room  for  the  responsibility  of  the  individual  for 
his  work.  It  is  most  likely  that  some  factual  justification  can  be  found 
for  each  of  these  views  in  the  experience  of  every  one  in  radio  and 
television.  Here  we  are  concerned,  however,  less  with  what  actually 
exists  and  more  with  how  existing  conditions  are  reflected  and  balanced 
in  the  minds  of  the  people  working  in  the  field.  From  that  point  of 
view  the  opposed  stereotypes  are  neatly  resolved  for  many  in  terms  of 
seeing  the  positive  side  among  their  immediate  colleagues  and  the  nega- 
tive side  among  sponsors,  ad  agencies,  packagers,  and  —  to  a  lesser 
extent  —  network  executives. 

As  to  the  relations  between  colleagues,  here  too  opinions  are,  of 
course,  divided.  About  one  quarter  of  the  people  interviewed  voiced  no 
opinion  or  felt  that  there  wasn't  much  difference  between  the  entertain- 
ment industry  and  other  fields,  when  it  came  to  helping  each  other. 
Among  the  remainder,  more  than  half  were  convinced  that  relations 
were  better,  while  only  13%  said  they  were  worse  than  elsewhere. 
Statements  such  as  the  following  were  frequently  made:  "People  in 
show  business  identify  with  a  fellow  artist  in  trouble.  They  generally 
say  to  themselves:  that  might  happen  to  me.  And  so  I  think  they  are 
very  prone  to  helping  each  other  out  of  difficulties." 

But  there  are,  of  course,  limits  to  mutual  help:  "I  think  they  would 
draw  the  line  when  they  feared  that  they  themselves  might  be  jeop- 
ardized or  if  they  financially  could  not  help." 

The  emphasis  on  more  than  ordinary  helpfulness  which  stops  only 
when  competition  for  the  job  is  involved  or  outside  the  circle  of  one's 
immediate  colleagues  is  succinctly  summarized  by  a  TV  producer: 

"Everyone  in  our  organization  would  do  everything  they  could  to 
help  everyone  else.  There  is  no  such  thing  as  a  one  man  TV  effort.  It's 
a  cooperative  effort.  Would  competitors  help  me?  I  doubt  it.  Would 
I  help  competitors?  I  doubt  it.  Would  a  drowning  advertising  agency 
or  a  sponsor  screaming  out  in  the  night  for  help  evoke  my  sympathy 
and  assistance?  I  strenuously  doubt  it." 

In  general,  relations  to  managers,  sponsors,  advertising  agencies  and 
policy  makers  on  all  levels  are  often  experienced  as  poor.  This  emerged 
spontaneously  in  answer  to  the  question  as  to  what  a  person  disliked 
about  his  job  in  radio  or  TV.  Many  factors  are  mentioned  in  response 


to  this  question:  the  insecurity  of  the  job  (20% );  the  nervous  pressure 
(41%);  the  blacklist  (10%),  the  lack  of  standards  and  talent  (42%); 
and  others.  But  no  other  factor  is  mentioned  so  frequently  as  the  cause 
of  dissatisfaction  with  the  job  as  network  and  advertising  executives, 
and  sponsors:  fully  52%  of  the  respondents  take  the  question  as  an 
occasion  to  describe  the  frustrating  lack  of  understanding  between  the 
creative  people  in  the  field  and  those  on  the  business  and  administrative 

Feelings  often  run  high  on  the  subject,  as  the  following  excerpts  from 
interviews  indicate. 

A  TV  writer  and  editor,  classified  in  the  top  level  category,  whose 
work  has  been  on  the  air  more  than  25  times  during  the  year: 

"TV  isn't  one  of  the  forms  —  I  hate  to  call  it  an  art  —  where  you're 
on  your  own.  You  are  responsible  to  the  sponsor  and  the  network. 
If  the  sponsor's  wife  doesn't  like  people  to  die  in  a  play,  people  can't 
die.  That's  radio,  that's  TV,  that's  any  medium  where  policies  are 
dictated  by  people  who  haven't  any  idea  of  it.  They  don't  look  at  a 
play,  they  look  at  their  Trendex,  their  rating,  and  this  is  certainly 
no  yardstick  for  what  is  good." 

A  leading  character-actor  in  radio  has  this  to  say: 

"What  I  dislike?  The  impossible  restrictions  which  have  cut  down 
drama  to  a  pallid  reflection  of  what  it  should  be.  Everyone  is  afraid 
to  offend.  The  fear  is  foisted  by  the  networks  who  feel  they  have  to 
please  everyone.  There  is  a  fantastic  amount  of  censorship  which  is 
labelled  something  else  .  .  .  The  ad  agencies  are  so  convinced  they 
have  their  finger  on  the  public  pulse  .  .  .  there  are  tremendous 
amounts  of  money  involved  and  they  won't  stick  their  necks  out. 
The  result?  The  business  people  have  got  producers,  directors  and 
writers  scared  and  apathetic." 

A  radio  producer,  rated  as  medium-level: 

"I  dislike  the  authoritarian  attitude  that  sponsors  assume.  A 
sponsor  rings  up  and  complains  because  the  hero  and  heroine  do  not 
go  into  a  church  at  the  end  of  the  program;  or,  why  did  he  have  to 
find  out  that  the  beautiful  blonde  was  a  spy?  There  is  too  much 
compromise.  I  feel  the  100%  saleable  show  is  pretty  trashy." 

The  nature  of  these  comments  makes  it  abundantly  clear  that  they 
come  from  artists.  It  may  well  be  that  creative  people  will  feel  cramped 


in  any  organization,  and  that  artists  resent  restrictions  more  than  other 
people.  If  that  be  the  case,  communication  and  clarity  in  the  relation 
between  policy  makers  and  talent  would  be  particularly  urgent  to  keep 
such  inevitable  resentment  within  manageable  limits.  The  structure  of 
the  industry,  however,  makes  it  difficult  to  achieve  such  clarity.  Re- 
sponsibility for  decisions  is  apparently  always  divided,  and  often  lies, 
or  is  assumed  to  lie,  outside  the  networks.  Any  piece  of  writing  goes, 
as  a  rule,  through  a  system  of  checks  and  controls  so  that  the  original 
product  has  often  changed  considerably  when  it  goes  on  the  air. 
Sponsor  and  advertising  agency  determine,  or  are  assumed  to  determine, 
policy  at  least  to  the  same  extent  as  the  network. 

One  serial  writer  describes  the  situation  in  the  following  way:  "What 
I  dislike  most  is  that  so  many  people  pass  judgment  on  what  I  write. 
The  writer  submits  a  plot  and  writes  a  script.  A  number  of  people  look 
at  it  from  different  viewpoints.  The  producer,  the  director,  the  actors, 
the  network,  the  sponsor  — this  is  a  source  of  unhappiness  for  me 
because  instead  of  getting  what  you  feel  you  have  created,  you  get  a 

And  another  writer:  "Everybody  is  so  damned  afraid.  And  there 
is  a  censorship,  an  actual  censorship  in  effect.  It's  the  ad  agencies  and 
the  sponsors.  It's  a  vicious  thing,  all  these  taboos.  The  American  public 
is  treated  as  if  it  had  the  moral  sense  of  a  child.  Everything  has  got  to 
be  happy  and  sunny.  The  ad  agency  rules  the  field.  But  you  can't  put 
it  all  off  on  the  agency  either.  Sometimes  the  sponsor  himself  puts  his 
veto  in  directly." 

A  producer  complains:  "There  are  some  things  that  the  advertiser 
or  the  ad  agency  requests  and  at  times  commands  which  do  not  con- 
form with  my  idea  of  good  entertainment.  I  dislike  all  interferences  on 
the  part  of  the  network  or  the  sponsor." 

One  director,  perhaps  with  undue  limitation  to  the  entertainment 
industry,  said:  "This  is  the  only  field  where  the  guy  who  pays  the  bill 
tells  the  expert  what  to  do." 

If  one  recalls  that  many  of  these  critics  are  actually  not  in  the  rela- 
tion of  employees  to  the  managers  and  policy  makers  of  the  industry  — 
that  they  do  not  have  a  stable,  continuing  relationship  with  a  given 
managerial  group  —  the  difficulty  in  achieving  clarification  or  change 
will  be  seen  in  its  proper  perspective. 

These,  then  are  some  of  the  features  in  the  employment  situation  of 


talent  which  influence  morale.  It  is  against  this  complex  background 
that  the  views  on  "blacklisting"  must  be  appraised. 

Views  on  "Blacklisting" 

"Blacklisting"  is  an  ugly  term.  So  ugly,  that  it  is  freely  used  throughout 
radio  and  television  only  by  those  who  condemn  wholeheartedly  the 
variety  of  practices  and  policies  associated  with  the  term.  Those  who 
approve  of  such  procedures  as  well  as  those  who  deny  their  existence 
object,  and  as  a  rule  violently,  to  its  use. 

According  to  Webster's  Dictionary  a  blacklist  is  "a  list  of  individuals 
regarded  as  suspect  or  as  deserving  of  censure  or  adverse  discrimi- 
nation"; and,  specifically,  "an  employer's  list  of  workers  who  hold 
opinions,  or  engage  in  activities,  contrary  to  employers'  interests,  espe- 
cially a  list  of  workers  active  in  non-recognized  union  organizations." 

The  essential  aspect  of  this  definition  -  the  existence  of  an  actual  list 
—  is  denied  by  all  top  executives  who  were  consulted,  whatever  their 
personal  view  or  their  organization's  practices  with  regard  to  criteria 
for  the  employability  of  a  person.  There  are  "sources"  which  are  con- 
sulted; there  are  "mysterious  telephone  numbers"  as  one  respondent 
said,  which  are  called;  there  are  "information  services"  outside  the 
industry  which  check  on  past  and  present  political  views  and  associa- 
tions of  radio  and  television  personnel.  But  there  is  no  list.  One 
executive  mentioned  the  following  incident:  at  a  meeting  attended  by 
representatives  of  various  organizations  in  the  industry,  a  union  official 
presented  a  proposal  for  improving  the  situation  in  the  industry.  The 
first  part  of  the  proposal  contained  the  request  that  "everybody  tear  up 
his  list."  The  proposal  was  voted  down,  in  part  because  it  was  unrealistic. 
Everybody  present  agreed  that  there  was  no  list  to  be  torn  up. 

So  strong  is  the  aversion  to  the  term  that  one  top  executive  who 
spoke  with  considerable  frankness  and  in  much  detail  about  the  methods 
he  used  to  screen  employees  and  job  candidates  for  their  views  and 
associations  felt  compelled  to  add:  "But  this  is  not  blacklisting.  I  define 
blacklisting  as  discrimination  on  the  job  because  of  race,  creed,  color  or 
political  belief.  Communism  or  sympathy  with  communism  is  not  an 
ordinary  political  belief.  It  is  a  conspiracy.  Hence  I  am  not  engaged 
in  blacklisting." 

The  assertion  from  several  sources  that  no  list  exists  recalls  a  pro- 
found remark  by  Baudelaire:  'The  most  beautiful  ruse  of  the  Devil  is 
to  persuade  us  that  he  doesn't  exist." 


As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  actual  existence  or  non-existence  of  such  a 
list  is  not  of  central  importance  to  a  study  of  beliefs  about  employment 
practices  in  the  industry  as  affected  by  political  considerations,  nor  to 
an  understanding  of  their  psychological  effects.  It  is  on  these  latter 
questions  that  the  present  study  is  focused.  The  term  "blacklisting" 
has  been  used,  both  in  the  interview  and  in  this  report,  as  the  most 
concise  way  of  designating  the  aspect  of  employment  practices  with 
which  the  study  is  concerned,  without  any  intention  of  asserting  the 
actual  existence  of  a  written  list. 

Let  us  first  consider  three  contrasting  views  on  the  situation  as  pre- 
sented by  three  of  our  respondents. 

One  actor  who  works  both  in  radio  and  in  television,  appearing 
about  six  times  a  week,  though  in  minor  capacities,  asserts  his  political 
views  even  before  he  is  asked  about  "blacklisting"  practices.  In  answer 
to  the  question  whether  he  would  contribute  his  services  without  pay 
to  a  benefit  show,  he  says:  "If  there  are  any  politics  involved  I'd  refuse. 
I  would  refuse  anything  that  has  red  tendencies  or  so-called  liberal 
tendencies.  In  other  words,  I'm  not  pink,  I'm  a  true  blue  American." 

When  asked  what  would  happen  to  a  person  in  the  industry  who  is 
not  a  Communist  now  but  who  attended  Communist  Party  meetings  for 
a  short  time  15  years  ago  and  was  now  named  in  a  magazine  as  a  Com- 
munist sympathizer,  he  answers:  "He  would  probably  lose  his  job." 
And  he  adds:  "Anyone  can  make  a  mistake;  if  it  is  certain  he  is  not  a 
Communist  now  I  don't  believe  in  crucifying  him.  But  you  must  always 
be  on  your  guard." 

Asked  about  what  that  man  could  do  to  keep  his  job,  he  says: 
"Declare  his  position,  state  his  repentance  and  his  allegiance  to  our  way 
of  life  and  beliefs.  That  is  all  he  can  do  and  may  God  help  him." 

When  asked  whether  he  believes  that  "blacklisting"  is  now  practised 
in  the  industry,  he  says:  "No,  I  think  there  is  a  silent  avoiding  of  red 
sympathizers  in  every  field  of  entertainment."  But  "Blacklisting  does 
more  good  than  harm.  Because  one  bad  apple  could  spoil  a  whole 
barrel.  I  don't  think  people  who  are  red  sympathizers  have  any  right 
to  be  among  loyal  and  true  Americans.  They  can  always  be  replaced." 

This  man  says  he  cannot  answer  many  of  the  other  relevant  questions 
for  lack  of  knowledge.  But  there  are  some  exceptions:  He  thinks  a 
person  usually  knows  whether  he  is  on  a  list.  "I  don't  think  there  is  any 
mystery  about  it."  As  one  of  the  reasons  for  "blacklisting"  he  states: 


"An  actor  should  be  a  living  example  of  Americanism."  And  he  feels 
that  "red  sympathizers  and  troublesome  actors"  are  most  likely  to  be 
"blacklisted".  As  an  adjustment  to  the  temper  of  the  times  in  order  to 
avoid  being  criticized  on  political  grounds  he  suggests:  "Keep  their 
mouths  shut.  Do  not  get  into  any  political  discussions  while  engaged 
in  rehearsals."  He  thinks  the  situation  with  regard  to  "blacklisting"  is 
not  changing;  and  he  believes  that  the  TV  industry,  more  than  radio, 
is  in  favor  of  "blacklisting".  He  does  not  consider  the  problem  as  very 

By  contrast,  this  is  what  a  TV  actor  on  a  top  level  has  to  say: 

He,  too,  thinks  that  a  person  named  now  for  activities  which  ended 
15  years  ago  would  probably  lose  his  job.  But  he  adds  a  note  of 
cynicism  with  regard  to  differences  between  individuals  in  this  respect: 
"If  the  individual  is  needed  he  will  be  cleared  somehow,"  implying  that 
those  concerned  with  these  procedures  permit  their  own  interest  to 
determine  the  fate  of  a  man.  He  adds :  "Networks  have  a  dossier  on 
everybody,  and  something  that  they  call  derogatory  information  is  col- 
lected on  every  one  they  use,  actor  or  writer.  Network  lawyers  evaluate 
this  information.  This  leads  to  a  lot  of  confusion  because  there  are 
other  agencies  evaluating  such  information.  Some  are  more  lenient 
than  others.  This  means  some  actors  can  appear  on  some  programs  but 
not  on  others."  And  he  concludes  this  description  with  a  remark  which 
was  made  by  several  respondents  in  similar  form:  "I  could  be  fired  for 
telling  you  this." 

This  man  says  "blacklisting"  is  currently  practiced  in  the  industry 
and  he  considers  it  does  more  harm  than  good.  "It  sets  up  standards 
which  have  little  basis  in  reality.  It's  used  as  a  weapon  against  people 
who  opposed  the  blacklist.  This  has  nothing  to  do  with  politics.  I  think 
it's  un-American.  And  that  goes  for  the  blacklisting  of  the  blacklisters 
too.  The  whole  thing  has  evil  connotations." 

"I  don't  know  an  advertising  agency  that  doesn't  have  a  list.  The 
networks  have  a  list.  We  have  a  list.  The  program  I'm  connected  with 
has  a  white  list,  a  list  of  people  you  can  use,  not  that  you  can't  use." 

Asked  for  the  reasons  that  may  lead  to  a  person  being  "blacklisted," 
he  says:  "The  reasons  are  many.  If  you  belong  to  the  Communist  Party 
or  to  any  group  on  the  Attorney-General's  list.  If  you  sign  a  petition. 
I  know  of  one  man  who  was  blacklisted  because  he  attended  the  funeral 
of  an  actor  who  was  a  Communist.  Even  groups  that  aren't  on  the 


Attorney-General's  list  are  enough  reason.  Or  you  belong  to  the  wrong 
faction  in  the  union.  The  union  played  a  large  part  in  it.  They  used 
the  threat  of  blacklisting  to  stay  in  power.  Some  agencies  have  recently 
decided  that  union  activities  are  not  derogatory  information.  Others 
still  consider  it  derogatory." 

On  the  sources  of  lists  and  the  mechanics  of  operation,  he  says:  "It 
started  with  Red  Channels;  then  came  Counterattack,  Mr.  Johnson  from 
Syracuse  and  Aware,  Inc.  Johnson  alerts  people  like  the  American 
Legion.  You  know  you  are  on  the  list  because  you  don't  work.  Nobody 
ever  tells  you  officially  why.  If  you  pay  you  can  get  cleared.  There  are 
300  radio  and  TV  people  affected  by  it."  He  thinks  that  nobody  should 
be  on  such  a  list. 

The  respondent  sees  two  motives  for  a  list:  (1)  ultra-patriotism  and 
(2)  economic  advantage.  He  thinks  that  information  on  people  is  sold. 
He  also  claims  to  know  of  a  case  where  professional  jealousy  led  to  a 
political  accusation.  He  feels  some  of  the  listers  may  think  they  are 
doing  a  good  job  but  he  considers  them  pathological. 

A  third  respondent,  a  prominent  radio  M.C.,  who  has  been  in  the 
field  for  a  long  time,  has  much  more  to  say  about  his  work  in  general 
than  about  "blacklisting,"  notwithstanding  the  many  pointed  questions 
about  it. 

"I  prefer  radio  to  TV.  It  is  easier.  There  are  no  hot  lights.  Every- 
thing you  do  before  the  camera  is  fixed  beforehand.  The  most  import- 
ant thing  is  not  to  step  beyond  the  chalk  line.  But  in  radio  some  people 
get  a  feeling  it  is  a  defeated  thing.  I  don't  believe  this.  Still,  the  most 
difficult  problem  is  the  competition  from  TV.  But  radio  will  come 
back.  TV  faces  the  problem  of  pay-as-you-go  (subscription)  TV. 
Maybe  radio  will  profit  from  it.  I'd  like  to  go  over  to  the  administra- 
tive side;  it  all  depends  on  whom  you  know.  You  can  come  in  with 
the  best  idea  in  the  world  —  unless  they  know  you  they  wouldn't  give 
you  any  consideration." 

"People  don't  help  each  other  much,  anyhow.  It's  a  jealous  situation. 
People  feel:  this  guy  might  get  ahead  of  me.  Everything  is  so  competi- 
tive. You  can't  afford  to  go  out  of  your  way  to  help  someone.  There 
is  a  minimum  number  of  jobs  and  lots  of  people  to  fill  them." 

When  it  comes  to  the  question  of  "blacklisting,"  this  man  says:  "I 
don't  know  whether  it  does  more  harm  or  more  good.  Maybe  it's  un- 
important. There  are  many  without  jobs  who  haven't  been  blacklisted.' 


And  asked  whether  a  friend  who  now  gets  into  difficulties  because 
he  once  had  attended  Communist  Party  meetings  would  ask  the  re- 
spondent's advice,  the  man  answers:  "No;  people  don't  help  each  other 
in  this  industry.  Well,  I  could  give  him  sympathy,  but  not  advice." 

Asked  about  adjustments  to  the  temper  of  the  times,  he  adds:  "Watch 
your  step.  Call  the  FBI  if  in  doubt.  Don't  do  things  that  might  bring 
you  in  an  unfavorable  light.  It's  not  wise  to  get  involved  in  politics." 
He  feels  "blacklisting"  is  not  important,  since  "some  of  the  finest  actors 
are  unemployed  without  being  blacklisted." 

These  three  respondents  are,  of  course,  different  in  many  ways.  The 
areas  of  difference  on  which  we  wish  to  focus  here  are  the  beliefs  that 
"blacklisting"  is  currently  practised,  and  attitudes  toward  "blacklisting." 

Many  of  the  respondents  regard  "blacklisting"  as  just  another  pos- 
sible source  of  insecurity  in  employment,  to  which  they  often  attach  no 
more  importance  than  to  others.  When  they  were  asked  to  compare 
the  importance  of  the  "blacklisting"  problem  with  that  of  other  prob- 
lems they  had  discussed  in  the  interview,  only  about  one-third  of  those 
who  expressed  an  opinion  felt  that  it  was  very  important.  The  rest 
regarded  it  as  of  minor  or  no  importance. 

But  whatever  the  degree  of  importance  they  attach  to  "blacklisting," 
there  are  very  few  among  those  who  discuss  it  whose  views  resemble 
that  of  the  first  man  quoted.  It  is  the  second  example  which  represents 
the  most  frequent  position  among  those  interviewed.  A  few  simple 
figures  may  summarize  the  views  and  values  of  the  people  we  inter- 
viewed. It  should  be  kept  in  mind  that  these  figures  are,  at  best,  a 
crude  indication  of  general  trends,  for  reasons  explained  earlier  in  the 
report:  The  number  of  respondents  is  small  (64),  and  it  is  impossible 
to  determine  to  what  extent  they  represent  the  views  of  the  entire  in- 
dustry. All  that  can  be  claimed  is  that  these  respondents  were  chosen 
without  bias  or  any  possible  foreknowledge  of  their  views  and  opinions. 
(The  interested  reader  will  find  the  responses  to  all  questions  in  greater 
detail  in  Appendix  a.) 

1.  Do  you  think  blacklisting  is  practiced  in  TV  and  radio  now? 

ANSWERS:  Top  level         Others      All  in  sample 

Not  responsive,  no  answer,  no  knowledge        10%  23%  19% 

Of  those  who  answer: 

Yes  89%  82%  85% 

No  11%  18%  15% 


2.  How  do  you  feel  about  blacklisting?   In  general,  do  you  think  it 
does  more  harm  or  more  good? 

ANSWERS:  Top  level  Others  All  in  sample 

Not  responsive,  no  answer,  no  knowledge  10%  23%  19% 
Of  those  who  answer: 

More  harm  100%  91%  94% 

More  good  0%  9%  6% 

3.  What  are  some  of  the  things  a  person  might  have  done  which  could 
result  in  his  being  blacklisted? 

ANSWERS:  Top  level         Others 

Not  responsive,  no  answer,  no  knowledge        10%  18% 

Of  those  who  answer: 

Suspected  of  past  or  present  Com- 
munist or  fellow  traveler  activities.  33%  44% 
Other  reasons,  but  no  mention  of 
Communist  or  fellow  traveler  activi- 
ties (e.g.:  accidental  or  personal  asso- 
ciations: current  non-communist,  po- 
litical activities;  union  activities;  etc.)  67%  56% 

4.  Are  the  listers  sincere  and  patriotic? 

All  in  sample 

Top  level 




Not  responsive,  no  answer,  no  knowledge 

Of  those  who  answer: 

Yes,  sincere 

Sincere  but  misguided,  crazy 

Some  sincere,  others  not 

Insincere,  profiteers,  pathological 

5.  Is  professional  jealousy  involved? 

Not  responsive,  no  answer,  no  knowledge 
Of  those  who  answer: 

Jealousy  involved 

Jealousy  not  involved 

6.  What  parts  of  the  industry  are  for  the  blacklist? 
ANSWERS:  Top  level         Others 
Not  responsive,  no  answer,  no  knowledge          5%  34% 
Of  those  who  answer:  * 



All  in  sample 



Top  level 









All  in  sample 



All  in  sample 


*  Total  is  more  than  100%  because  some  respondents  mentioned  more  than  one 


Ad  agencies  26%  41%  35% 

Sponsors  37%  34%  35% 

Networks,  employers,  management  26%  14%  19% 

Individuals  (no  group)  26%  31%  29% 

7.  Suppose  that  someone  now  in  the  industry  is  named  as  a  Communist 
sympathizer  in  a  magazine.    He  really  isn't  now,  although  fifteen 
years  ago  he  attended  Communist  Party  meetings  for  a  short  time. 
What  do  you  think  will  happen  about  his  job? 

ANSWERS:  Top  level  Others  All  in  sample 

Not  responsive,  no  answer,  no  knowledge        10%  9%               9% 
Of  those  who  answer: 

He'll  probably  lose  job                                55%  53%             54% 

He'll  probably  keep  job                               28%  20%             22% 

Fifty-fifty  chance  to  keep  job                      17%  27%             24% 

8.  Just  to  give  some  perspective,  how  important  do  you  feel  black- 
listing is  in  relation  to  other  problems  in  the  industry? 

ANSWERS:  Top  level  Others  All  in  sample 

Not  responsive,  no  answer,  no  knowledge         5%  32%  23% 

Of  those  who  answer: 

Very  important  47%  30%  37% 

Minor  importance  36%  60%  51% 

No  importance  17%  10%  12% 

9.  In  regard  to  blacklisting,  would  you  say  that  the  situation  is  getting 
better  or  getting  worse,  or  staying  about  the  same? 

ANSWERS:  Top  level  Others  All  in  sample 

Not  responsive,  no  answer,  no  knowledge  10%  34%             27% 
Of  those  who  answer: 

Better  95%  80%             85% 

Worse  0%              10%               6% 

About  the  same  5%              10%               9% 

These  figures  show  that  those  who  express  an  opinion  are  convinced 
that  "blacklisting"  is  being  practised;  they  regard  it  virtually  unani- 
mously as  harmful;  the  majority  of  the  people  interviewed  think  that 
persons  are  "blacklisted"  for  reasons  other  than  membership  in  the 
Communist  Party  or  other  subversive  organizations,  or  entertaining 
Communist  sympathies;  opinions  are  about  equally  divided  as  to 
whether  those  who  produce  lists  are  motivated  by  sincere  patriotism, 
but  most  of  those  who  believe  the  listers  are  sincere  consider  them 


misguided;  many  believe  that  professional  jealousy  is  involved  in 
"blacklisting";  among  the  parts  of  the  industry  believed  to  favor  the 
"blacklist"  those  most  frequently  mentioned  are  advertising  agencies 
and  sponsors;  the  majority  believe  that  a  casual  attendance  at  Com- 
munist Party  meetings  15  years  ago  could  now  cost  an  individual  his 
position  and  livelihood;  and  the  overwhelming  majority  believe  that 
the  situation  with  regard  to  "blacklisting"  is  improving. 

With  regard  to  the  importance  attached  to  "blacklisting,"  interpreta- 
tions must  be  particularly  cautious.  While  it  is  true  that  one  third  of 
those  who  express  an  opinion  when  asked  about  this  matter  say  they 
regard  "blacklisting"  as  a  very  important  issue,  it  is  also  true  that  only 
six  persons  mention  "blacklisting"  spontaneously  when  talking  about 
their  work  in  general.  At  best,  these  figures  set  the  upper  and  lower 
bounds  for  gauging  the  importance  attached  to  this  matter. 

It  is  not  our  task  to  decide  whether  these  beliefs  and  opinions  are 
justified  by  reality  or  not.  As  beliefs  and  opinions  they  have  their  psy- 
chological reality,  with  its  impact  on  the  morale  of  talent. 

Psychological  Themes 

Most  of  the  respondents  talked  at  great  length,  on  the  average  for  two 
and  three-quarters  hours.  No  interview  lasted  for  less  than  one  hour; 
one  extended  to  six  hours.  Out  of  this  rich  material  a  number  of  psy- 
chological themes  emerged  which  cannot  possibly  be  captured  in 
monosyllabic  answers  to  complicated  questions.  The  identification  of 
these  themes  and  of  their  relation  to  some  more  general  aspects  of 
morale  (even  though  as  already  indicated  we  cannot  take  their  statistical 
incidence  too  seriously),  provides  some  basis  for  estimating  the  im- 
plications of  "blacklisting"  for  the  radio  and  television  industry.  Before 
we  can  discuss  the  picture  as  a  whole,  however,  we  need  to  review  these 
themes  individually. 

Perhaps  the  most  outstanding  theme  is  the  recurring  evidence  of  fear 
in  the  persons  we  talked  to.  Mostly  fear  of  losing  one's  job.  But  also 
fear  of  getting  involved  in  issues,  of  committing  oneself  to  an  opinion, 
of  having  to  face  questions  of  right  or  wrong  and  of  one's  own  values  in 
a  complex  world.  For  about  a  quarter  of  the  respondents  the  interview 
itself  created  a  certain  amount  of  fear,  more  or  less  openly  admitted. 
From  question  14  onwards,  where  the  interview  turns  to  "blacklisting" 

and  related  matters,  the  written  assurance  of  complete  anonymity  was 



frequently  reread  by  the  respondents.  Questions  were  asked  from  here 
on  about  the  purpose  and  sponsorship  of  the  study;  small  jokes  —  "per- 
haps you  are  an  F.B.I,  agent?"  —  were  made,  revealing  a  certain  amount 
of  tension.  The  interviewers  had  been  instructed  to  note  any  uneasiness 
in  the  respondent,  and  the  place  where  it  appeared.  Here  are  some 
of  their  comments: 

"All  the  questions  on  blacklisting  were  difficult  with  respondent. 
It  was  like  pulling  words  out  of  her  mouth.  She  would  have  gone  on 
all  day  to  talk  about  herself,  but  when  it  came  to  blacklisting  she  did 
not  like  it." 

"Some  questions  the  respondent  felt  were  an  attempt  to  evaluate 
his  integrity  and  he  showed  some  resentment." 

"I  don't  believe  he  was  quite  honest  in  denying  any  more  knowl- 
edge about  blacklisting." 

"He  was  initially  cautious,  then  expansive  —  until  the  questions 
became  controversial.  He  then  became  extremely  cautious  and  often 
evasive.  He  made  several  contradictory  statements." 

"His  anxiety  about  the  blacklist  questions  was  apparent  when  he 
nearly  broke  off  the  interview.  The  letter  of  introduction  calmed 
him  right  down  to  the  point  where  he  could  continue." 

"Respondent  absolutely  refused  to  discuss  the  subject  in  more 
detail.   At  the  end  of  the  interview  I  told  her  that  others  had  been 
more  articulate.  She  said,  'That's  good  —  but  one  gets  conditioned'. 
Throughout  the  interview  I  assured  her  of  anonymity.  To  no  avail." 
In  other  cases  where  fear  was  less  obvious,  its  existence  could  none- 
theless be  inferred.   A  good  indicator  is  the  frequency  of  evasive  or 
"don't  know"  answers  to  questions.    For  questions  dealing  with  the 
industry  in  general,  apart  from  "blacklisting,"  the  average  percentage 
of  evasive,  unclassifiable  or  "don't  know"  answers  was  just  under  5%. 
For  questions  dealing  with  "blacklisting"  this  average  percentage  was 
28%.   In  view  of  the  fact  that  almost  9  out  of  10  of  the  sample  were 
regular  readers  of  the  daily  New  York  press,  and  virtually  all  of  them 
readers  of  the  industry's  publications  and  in  view  of  what  others  said 
about  the  concern  of  themselves  and  their  colleagues  with  the  issue, 
this  percentage  seems  unreasonably  high  if  interpreted  at  face  value  as 
lack  of  knowledge. 

The  evasion  of  an  answer  by  claiming  lack  of  knowledge  is  facili- 
tated, of  course,  by  the  fact  that  the  actual  procedures  and  policies 


employed  are  not  publicly  announced.  One  executive,  in  describing  the 
screening  procedures  he  used  emphasized  that  he  made  it  a  point  never 
to  pass  on  to  anyone  the  information  he  had  obtained  about  a  person. 
All  he  would  tell  a  casting  director,  for  example,  was:  use  or  do  not  use 
X.  He,  as  well  as  many  other  respondents,  said  that  political  labels 
were  judiciously  avoided  and  that  the  term  used  to  describe  a  non- 
employable  person  was:  X.  is  "controversial."  The  person  so  designated 
is,  according  to  the  views  of  many  who  commented  on  this  point,  not 
informed  of  the  decision  made  against  him.  One  actor  said:  "Nobody 
is  told  that  he  is  on  a  list,  because  under  some  law  —  libel,  slander  or 
character  defamation  —  that  would  lay  the  employer  open  to  a  libel 
suit.  They  would  have  to  prove  that  a  certain  individual  was  unworthy 
of  a  job."  Of  those  who  answered  the  question,  "Is  a  person  ever  told 
that  he  is  not  hired  because  he  is  on  a  list?",  only  about  12%  think  a 
person  is  usually  told  that  he  is  on  a  list;  and  even  they  often  say  that 
such  information  is  given  unofficially  "by  the  grapevine,"  "a  secretary 
may  let  it  out,"  "if  he  has  a  friend  in  a  position  to  know  he  may  tell 

It  is,  of  course,  quite  possible  that  the  secrecy  surrounding  the  pro- 
cedures, decisions,  and  reasons  for  decisions  is  meant  to  be  not  only 
in  the  interest  of  the  company  but  also  in  the  interest  of  the  talent.  But 
it  is  doubtful  whether  this  latter  purpose  is  actually  fulfilled.  For  in 
the  absence  of  clear  information  on  procedures  and  criteria  for  deciding 
that  a  person  is  unemployable,  rumor  and  hearsay  take  over;  two  factors 
most  effective  in  reaching  many,  but  hardly  effective  in  spreading  accu- 
rate knowledge.  The  secrecy  surrounding  the  implementation  of  these 
employment  policies  must  inevitably  increase  fear. 


Fear  has  its  consequences  in  the  way  people  behave  to  each  other.  It 
has  already  been  pointed  out  that  the  general  job  insecurity  affects 
relations  of  people  in  the  industry.  The  fear  engendered  by  the  "black- 
list" has  its  special  effect.  We  were  told  of  a  man  whose  political 
activities  in  the  distant  past,  (from  which  he  had  effectively  dissociated 
himself  and  about  which  he  had  given  full  information  to  the  F.B.I.), 
were  about  to  be  made  public.  This  man  felt  the  urge  to  inform  a  few 
of  his  colleagues  of  the  factual  situation  before  his  story  would  hit  the 
headlines.  He  thought  of  arranging  a  private  luncheon  for  this  purpose. 
When  he  approached  a  close  colleague  and  friend  with  this  idea,  the 


friend  said  he  would  under  no  circumstances  attend  such  a  meeting, 
nor  did  he  believe  would  anybody  else  who  knew  what  the  luncheon 
was  to  be  about. 

This  undermining  of  mutual  confidence  and  support  through  fear 
is  apparently  quite  frequent.  The  interviewees  were  asked  whether  they 
knew  of  a  case  of  "blacklisting"  and  of  the  surrounding  circumstances. 
Most  of  them  (about  five  out  of  six)  answered  the  question  affirma- 
tively. These  persons  were  then  asked  how  the  colleagues  and  how  the 
employer  of  the  "blacklisted"  persons  behaved  in  the  situation.  Actual 
help  from  colleagues  was  reported  by  about  a  quarter  of  those  familiar 
with  such  a  case;  sympathetic  attitudes  among  colleagues  without  active 
help  was  mentioned  by  many  more. 

Among  colleagues  the  wish  to  help  coupled  with  the  difficulty  of 
doing  so  creates  frustration.  One  man  in  describing  a  case  said:  "He 
was  a  fine  actor,  and  it  was  a  gross  injustice.  People  cared  about  him 
as  a  person  too  and  would  have  liked  to  help.  But  what  can  you  do?" 

The  phrase  "but  what  can  you  do?"  is  often  used.  One  person  said: 
"Often  there  is  no  special  occasion  to  do  something.  They  aren't 
always  fired  in  a  dramatic  scene.  They  just  aren't  hired.  They  don't 
get  a  day  in  court.  They  are  simply  not  employed.  What  can  you  do?" 

And  another:  "Fellow  artists  are  weak,  and  their  attitude  is  un- 
important—they are  all  working  people.  They  would  be  afraid  to 
help  him." 

Of  course,  there  are  also  cases  in  which  effective  help  has  been  given. 
One  of  our  respondents  reported  that  he  and  some  friends  had  raised 
the  money  for  a  colleague  in  trouble  so  that  he  could  hire  a  lawyer. 
Now  that  colleague  was  working  again  in  the  industry.  But  such  inci- 
dents seem  to  be  quite  rare.  As  a  rule,  the  difficulties  of  a  colleague 
create  deep  frustration  among  those  who  want  to  help  but  feel  impotent 
and  unable  to  do  anything. 

Such  frustration  resulting  from  a  sense  of  helplessness  is  intensified 
by  the  role  the  unions  are  said  to  play  in  this  situation.  According  to 
a  number  of  the  respondents,  the  manner  in  which  anti-communism 
affects  the  employment  situation  in  the  industry  is,  and  has  been  for 
some  years,  the  cause  of  bitter  fights  within  the  unions.  The  merging 
of  previously  separate  unions  and  other  organizational  matters  make 
the  history  of  these  unions  very  complex.  This  is  not  the  place  to 
present  these  complicated  matters;  nor  have  we  made  a  study  of  the 


position  actually  taken  by  the  unions.  What  should  be  mentioned  here 
is  that  some  respondents  feel  particularly  frustrated  when  discussing 
their  unions.  One  man  said:  "There  is  a  feeling  of  futility;  I'm  not  as 
willing  to  go  out  and  fight  as  I  once  was.  I  fought  in  the  union.  We 
won  office  for  a  couple  of  years.  Then  we  figured  factionalism  was 
gone  and  put  through  a  resolution  to  disband  sides.  Everyone  lived  up 
to  the  bargain  except  those  who  took  over  one  committee;  they  are  in 
complete  control.  They  intimidate  and  label  everyone  a  Communist 
who  opposes  them.  Many  were  thus  labelled  even  though  they  had 
been  cleared  by  the  F.B.I.  For  example  because  they  opposed  a  loyalty 
pledge."  Several  others  said  too  that  opposition  in  union  meetings  on 
union  issues  was  regarded  as  a  dangerous  undertaking.  And  some 
reported  that  attendance  at  union  meetings  had  rapidly  fallen  off  within 
recent  years.  They  implied  that  a  major  factor  had  been  a  sense  of 
frustration  related  to  fear  of  political  repercussions  for  those  active  in 
the  unions. 

Constriction  of  Activities  and  Associations 

Persons  in  our  sample  talk  of  self-imposed  restrictions  on  the  range 
of  their  ordinary  activities  in  response  to  "blacklisting."  Respondents 
were  asked  what  adjustments,  if  any,  they  felt  obliged  to  make  to  the 
temper  of  the  times  in  order  to  avoid  possible  political  criticism.  In 
particular,  they  were  asked  about  discussing  their  political  views  around 
the  studio,  about  being  friendly  with  certain  people,  joining  organiza- 
tions, and  special  caution,  if  any,  in  the  choice  of  reading  matter.  There 
are  some  persons  in  the  sample  who  indignantly  deny  such  restrictions, 
or  even  the  need  for  them.  There  are  others  who  describe  certain  pre- 
cautions they  take;  but  there  are  none  who  feel  that  these  precautions 
have  meaning  or  benefit  anybody. 

One  actor's  sarcastic  exaggeration  conveys  the  tone  of  inner  rebellion 
felt  by  some,  even  though  he  was  obviously  satirizing  the  situation: 
"Isolate  yourself,  render  no  opinion  on  any  subject.  Keep  closely 
confined  counsel,  make  love  to  no  woman  you  don't  ultimately  marry, 
divorce  your  wife  under  no  condition,  avoid  making  enemies  for  any 
reason,  love  everyone  and  be  loved  by  everyone,  and  above  all  be 
neutral  about  everything.  Don't  go  to  public  assemblies,  avoid  ban- 
quets, meetings;  and,  when  overheard  by  anyone  else,  be  speaking 
exclusively  about  the  subject  of  mother  or  romance." 

More  realistically,  another  reports:  "My  wife  had  a  copy  of  Karl 


Marx  that  she  got  when  she  was  16  or  17  years  old.  One  night  we  were 
having  a  producer  and  his  wife  over  for  dinner  and  we  didn't  want  him 
to  see  this  book,  so  she  removed  it  from  the  shelf." 

In  an  extreme  case,  a  respondent  said  that  a  job-seeking  actor  would 
not  be  wise  to  walk  into  an  advertising  agency  with  a  copy  of  The 
Nation  or  the  New  York  Post  under  his  arm.  For  the  run-of-the-mill 
precautions,  one  staff-writer  sums  it  up  thus:  "With  the  exception  of 
the  fellows  who  are  admitted  Communists  or  of  those  who  took  the 
Fifth  Amendment  and  have  nothing  further  to  lose,  everyone  else  tends 
to  pull  in  his  horns." 

There  are  quite  a  few  persons  in  the  sample  for  whom  such  con- 
striction is  relatively  easy.  They  are  willing  to  comply  with  what  they 
perceive  to  be  appropriate  behavior  because  they  are  so  dedicated  to 
their  profession  that  they  do  not  care  too  much  about  matters  outside 
of  it.  To  them  it  appears  to  be  an  almost  meaningless  concession  to  the 
climate  of  the  tunes. 

It  is  particularly  striking  how  little  exception  to  such  constriction 
writers  take,  even  when  it  affects  the  content  of  their  work.  One  of 
them  said:  "Nowadays,  it  would  certainly  be  a  mistake  to  let  the  under- 
dog win  in  the  end.  So  I  don't."  Another  one  mentioned  that  there 
was  now  somewhat  more  stereotyping  of  content  than  there  had  been. 
But  he  felt  the  change  was  slight  and  often  hardly  perceptible.  It  was, 
he  said,  for  example,  no  longer  "approved"  to  make  a  banker  the  villain 
in  a  play.  "Of  course,  there  often  is  no  particular  reason  why  the  villain 
should  be  a  banker;  I  give  him  another  profession."  This  man  was 
asked,  in  the  interview,  how  he  felt  about  such  restrictions.  He  shrugged 
his  shoulders,  and  started  to  recite  a  long  series  of  other,  non-political 
restrictions,  which  a  writer  had  to  follow  in  any  case  for  every  sponsor. 
The  restricted  choice  of  occupation  for  the  villain  of  his  imagination 
was  of  minor  concern  to  him. 

Target  for  Suspicion 

One  theme  on  which  respondents  elaborated  and  which  helps  to 
make  constriction  acceptable  is  the  conviction  of  many  that  "it  can 
happen  to  everyone."  As  one  man  said:  "Anyone  can  get  blacklisted. 
It's  such  a  haphazard  method  of  picking." 

But  if  one  looks  closer  into  the  statements  of  respondents  about  the 
universality  of  the  threat,  it  emerges  that  what  is  actually  meant  is  that 
suspicion,  and  its  consequences  for  employability,  is  not  limited  to  Com- 


munists  and  subversive  elements,  but  is  directed  against  a  large  variety 
of  persons. 

In  several  instances  it  is  said  that  "idealists"  are  likely  to  get  into 
trouble.  Sometimes  the  explanation  is  added,  because  they  "were 
swindled  into  a  benefit  performance"  or  "doing  something  for  Loyalist 
Spain";  but  sometimes  there  is  no  qualification  or  explanation,  as  if  the 
respondent  takes  it  for  granted  that  idealism  leads  to  being  accused  or 
suspected  of  Communist  affiliations. 

Some  respondents  have  so  little  respect  for  those  who  originate  these 
employment  policies  that  they  do  not  trust  them  to  know  what  a  Com- 
munist is.  And  they  claim  that  their  observations  confirm  the  complete 
absence  of  responsible  and  politically  sophisticated  criteria.  One  person 
sees  suspicion  directed  against  "the  more  intellectual  groups;  the  ones 
that  are  serious  about  their  work."  Another  fears  for  "those  who  delve 
more  into  problems,  because  they  are  more  inclined  to  experiment." 
Or:  "Liberals  are  likely  to  get  into  trouble.  They  tend  to  find  flaws  in 
the  existing  world  and  write  about  them.  They  are  interested  in  all 
sorts  of  things  and  pay  less  attention  to  public  taboos." 

In  line  with  the  notion  that  people  who  have  social  ideals  are  more 
likely  than  others  to  get  into  trouble  is  the  following  comment:  "Those 
who  are  outspoken  about  wanting  to  improve  race  relations"  (may  be 
in  trouble).  "If  one  lives  in  the  Village,  it's  bad.  Sometimes  even  if 
you  let  it  be  known  that  you  are  a  Democrat.  If  you  are  a  member  of 
the  A.D.A.,  it  is  murder." 

Finally,  a  number  of  people  commented  that  they  personally  felt 
quite  safe  because  they  were  too  unimportant  to  be  discriminated 
against.  "Frankly,  I  don't  think  I  have  big  enough  a  name  to  get  into 
trouble.  Names  is  all  they  (the  listers)  want." 

A  contrasting  view  is  mentioned  by  a  number  of  executives  who  felt 
that  the  extent  of  "blacklisting"  was  exaggerated  because  it  was  easier 
on  one's  vanity  to  attribute  failure  to  get  a  job  to  the  "blacklist"  than 
to  one's  lack  of  talent.  Whether  or  not  this  is  so  in  some  cases  we  are, 
of  course,  unable  to  say,  since  no  person  who  believed  himself  "black- 
listed" was  included  in  the  sample.  That  other  persons,  not  included  in 
our  small  sample,  use  "blacklisting"  as  an  excuse  to  cover  up  their  own 
lack  of  ability,  is,  of  course,  possible.  It  is,  however,  not  very  likely 
that  one  would  call  himself  "blacklisted"  without  good  evidence  since 
such  a  rumor  alone  may  destroy  further  job  chances. 



Most  of  our  respondents  believe  that  the  "blacklisting"  procedures, 
initiated  and  defended  in  the  name  of  national  security,  have  no  bear- 
ing whatsoever  on  national  security.  They  were  all  aware  of  the 
watertight  system  of  control  over  content  before  it  goes  on  the  air 
which  excludes  possibilities  of  direct  subversion.  Some  of  them  pointed 
out  that  engineers,  who  are  in  the  most  crucial  position  to  do  harm  in 
an  emergency,  were  not  affected  by  these  policies.  None  of  them  men- 
tioned an  argument  which  is  often  made  elsewhere,  namely  that  out- 
standing performers  might  use  a  good  deal  of  their  income  to  help  the 
cause  of  communism  financially.  Most  of  them,  as  already  indicated, 
had  doubts  about  the  motivation  of  the  listers.  When  this  doubt  was 
voiced  in  a  more  charitable  spirit,  the  listers  were  called  misguided  or 
crazy;  in  a  less  charitable  mood  the  adjectives  were  insincere,  profiteer- 
ing, money-greedy,  hypocritical,  and  the  like. 

Such  an  evaluation  of  the  motivation  behind  the  "blacklisting"  pro- 
cedures, and  of  their  ineffectiveness,  taken  together  with  the  sense  of 
frustration  with  regard  to  decency  in  human  relations,  the  constriction 
of  activities  without  a  justifying  conviction,  and  the  belief  that  unfair 
and  unintelligible  criteria  are  used  which  get  people  into  serious  trouble 
—  collectively,  these  add  up  to  an  attitude  of  cynicism.  It  is  not  sur- 
prising, therefore,  that  when  the  question  was  raised  as  to  why  powerful 
networks  and  sponsors  complied  with  the  requests  made  by  such  doubt- 
ful characters,  the  answer  was,  as  a  rule:  money. 

There  are  some  practices  cited  by  respondents  which  lend  support 
to  this  all-embracing  cynical  explanation.  One  major  employer,  for 
example,  allegedly  checks  on  personnel  not  once  and  for  all,  but  insists 
that  every  new  assignment  of  a  person  be  confirmed  only  after  a  new 
check  has  been  performed.  One  person  in  the  sample,  commenting  on 
the  need  for  repeated  clearance,  declared  he  could  understand  it  only 
in  terms  of  a  rumor  he  had  heard:  there  was  an  alleged  fee  of  $7.50 
a  person  had  to  pay  to  one  of  the  outside  organizations  which  had  set 
up  its  own  machinery  for  "clearing"  personnel,  whenever  a  question 
was  raised.  More  open  support  for  the  assumption  that  it  is  all  a 
question  of  money  derives  from  several  statements,  allegedly  made  to 
personnel  by  some  networks  and  advertising  agencies,  that  it  is  in  the 
financial  interest  of  the  sponsor  to  avoid  the  use  of  "controversial" 


This  is  not  to  assert  that  the  persons  we  interviewed  were  blind  to 
the  general  trend  of  public  opinion.  On  the  contrary,  they  mentioned 
again  and  again  that  what  was  happening  in  the  entertainment  industry 
fitted  well  into  the  national  climate  of  thought  —  or  "the  national  hys- 
teria", according  to  some  —  and  was  possible  only  because  of  it.  But 
what  they  felt  was  that  here  it  was  the  catering  to  a  mood  rather  than 
the  fulfillment  of  a  good  purpose,  and  for  reasons  of  personal  profit. 

Of  the  persons  who  expressed  an  opinion  as  to  whether  anyone 
should  be  excluded  from  work  in  the  industry  because  of  his  political 
beliefs,  the  great  majority  felt  that  no  one  should  be;  qualification  for 
the  job  is  the  only  criterion  which  they  repeatedly  stressed.  As  they 
perceive  those  who  pay  for  their  services  to  hold  very  different  views, 
they  keep  quiet  for  the  sake  of  the  job  in  the  conviction  that  there  is 
in  this  respect  little  room  for  fairness  in  the  entertainment  industry. 
They  submit  to  what  they  believe  to  be  wrong. 

A  Conflict  of  Conscience 

Yet  the  respondents'  views  of  cynicism  in  management  are  not 
verified  when  one  discusses  the  situation  with  executives  of  networks, 
advertising  agencies  and  packaging  firms.  In  all  but  one  of  these  inter- 
views the  existence  of  certain  procedures  to  check  on  the  views  and 
political  associations  of  radio  and  television  personnel  was  discussed; 
in  no  case  with  either  enthusiasm  or  cynicism.  The  attitudes  of  these 
executives  is  expressed  by  the  following  typical  comments: 

"I  have  to  do  it.  I  hate  doing  it.  Everyone  else  in  the  same  boat  feels 
that  way." 

"I  have  spent  many  sleepless  nights  over  it.  It's  hard  to  know  what 
to  do." 

"I  hate  it,  but  let's  be  realistic.  If  we  admit  that  public  opinion  won't 
stand  for  using  a  Communist  like  Paul  Robeson  on  the  air,  then  we 
have  to  have  criteria  for  selection.  And  since  there  are  no  criteria 
which  can  be  used,  we  are  where  we  are." 

"I  have  fought  for  a  few  people  in  spite  of  opposition.  But  I  had  to 
give  in  in  a  number  of  cases.  I  have  hated  myself  for  doing  it." 

"I  think  it  is  a  terrible,  tragic  mistake.  But  I  confess  to  you  that  if 
one  of  these  outside  organizations  would  ask  me  to  pay  them  $200  a 
month  to  protect  the  interests  of  this  organization,  I  am  afraid  I  would 
pay  it." 

"Don't  call  me  a  security  officer.  I  am  just  here  to  protect  the  inter- 


ests  of  our  clients.  Controversial  people  are  bad  for  their  business.  I 
don't  have  to  be  ashamed  of  what  I  am  doing.  It  is  just  a  job  to  safe- 
guard our  clients." 

Those  who  have  worked  out  procedures  for  screening  have  given 
considerable  thought  to  them  and  have  undoubtedly  spent  thousands 
of  working  hours  and  much  money  on  this,  by  their  own  standards, 
unenviable  task.  Nonetheless,  nobody  claimed  to  have  found  the  right 
procedure  that  would  avoid  possible  injustice  to  individuals. 

In  the  beginning  of  the  interviews  with  executives,  they  were  first 
acquainted  with  the  results  being  reported  here  and  asked  if  they  cared 
to  comment  on  them.  With  one  exception  where  the  attitude  was  com- 
pletely non-committal,  the  findings  were  not  brushed  aside  as  of  no 
importance  to  the  industry.  One  or  two  executives  felt  it  hard  to  believe 
that  morale  with  regard  to  "blacklisting"  should  be  as  low  as  indicated; 
several  said  they  had  expected  it  to  be  low.  None  took  it  lightly. 

All  but  one  of  the  executives  were  ready  to  discuss  ways  of  improv- 
ing the  situation,  though  some  expressed  skepticism  about  the  chances 
of  doing  so.  Explicitly  or  implicitly  it  was  clear  that  they  regarded  the 
sponsors  as  having  of  necessity  the  final  word  in  these  matters  even 
though,  as  was  pointed  out  on  several  occasions,  it  was  not  the  sponsor 
who  carried  legal  responsibility  for  what  went  on  the  air. 

Divided  Responsibility  and  Lack  of  Communication 

Another  theme  was  frequently  introduced  both  by  talent  and  by  the 
leaders  of  the  industry:  the  difficulty  of  establishing  a  change  of  policy 
in  an  industry  in  which  so  many  diverse  groups  have  a  legitimate  say, 
and  where  direct  communication  between  policy  makers  and  talent  is 
the  exception  rather  than  the  rule. 

As  has  been  indicated,  this  difficulty  is  general  and  genuine  in  areas 
having  nothing  to  do  with  employment  policies.  With  regard  to  "black- 
listing," it  is  compounded  because  other  private  individuals  and  or- 
ganizations have  managed  to  insert  themselves  into  the  complicated 
chain  of  command  in  this  respect.  It  is  not  part  of  this  report  to 
describe  in  detail  the  nature  or  the  activities  of  such  outside  groups 
which  try  to  influence  the  employment  policies  in  the  industry.  All  that 
can  be  said  here  is  that  many  of  the  respondents  are  aware  of  their 
existence  and  regard  them  as  a  further  complication  in  an  already 
complicated  system  of  shared  responsibilities. 

One  TV  writer  who  felt  that  "blacklisting"  had  damaged  the  entire 


industry  put  his  views  thus:  "In  itself  it  (blacklisting)  is  an  admission 
on  the  part  of  the  TV  industry  that  prerogatives  that  should  be  retained 
by  them  can  be  usurped  by  outside  sources.  And  once  they  have  started 
to  give  in  to  these  sources,  they  will  have  to  give  in  more." 

This  alleged  absence  of  individual  responsibility  for  policy  decisions 
about  "blacklisting"  makes  it  plausible  that  the  impersonal  managerial 
"they"  are  blamed  for  everything,  to  the  detriment  of  morale  in  the 

This  is  made  all  the  easier  because  many  policy  decisions  and 
struggles  fought  by  management  in  the  interest  of  curtailing  outside 
interference  are  kept  confidential.  In  the  discussion  with  policy  makers 
a  number  of  incidents  were  mentioned  which  clearly  show  top  execu- 
tives asserting  individual  responsibility,  ignoring  outside  organizations, 
defending  individual  performers  and  striving  to  preserve  an  atmosphere 
suitable  for  constructive  work.  These  incidents  are  known  only  to 
those  directly  involved.  They  cannot  be  fully  identified  in  this  report. 
The  executives  revealed  them  on  the  condition  that  their  organizations 
not  be  mentioned.  There  can  be  little  doubt  that  these  incidents  actually 
occurred;  their  constructive  impact  on  morale  in  the  industry  would, 
of  course,  have  been  infinitely  greater  had  they  been  revealed  in  full. 

One  top  executive,  for  example,  mentioned  a  show  sponsored  by  a 
producer  of  well-known  consumer  goods.  After  the  show  he  received 
a  number  of  letters  threatening  boycott  of  the  goods  unless  a  "subver- 
sive" actor  was  removed  from  the  cast.  The  top  executive  was  con- 
vinced that  the  accusation  was  false.  He  communicated  with  the 
sponsor,  who  had  received  similar  mail.  Both  decided  to  ignore  the 
threat.  Nothing  more  was  heard  about  it.  The  business  of  the  sponsor 
is  as  flourishing  as  ever. 

Another  top  executive  said  that  his  organization  was  not  very  much 
impressed  by  mail  accusing  individual  performers  of  the  wrong  political 
connections.  He  had  learned  to  ignore  such  correspondence  when  he 
realized  that  the  largest  number  of  such  letters  he  ever  received  hi  an 
individual  case  was  200.  On  the  other  hand,  when  one  favorite  show 
altered  its  time  schedule,  8,000  letters  of  protest  came  in.  Nevertheless 
the  show  lost  nothing  of  its  popularity  on  the  new  schedule. 

Several  executives  said  they  knew  that  some  of  their  biggest  sponsors 
were  annoyed  by  the  interferences  of  one  Mr.  Johnson  (the  owner  of 
three  grocery  stores  in  Syracuse  who  is  said  to  be  engaged  in  a  one-man 


campaign  to  eliminate  from  employment  in  the  entertainment  field 
persons  whose  political  views  he  suspects)  and  ignored  his  threats  of 
boycott  without  damage  to  themselves. 

To  be  sure,  there  were  other  indications  in  the  interviews  with  policy 
makers  which  confirm  the  beliefs  and  views  of  talent  working  in  the 
entertainment  field  with  regard  to  abdicating  responsibility  for  deci- 
sions, or  doing  under  one's  own  responsibility  what  outsiders  clamored 
for.  But  the  point  to  be  made  here  is  that  the  secrecy  surrounding  all 
such  decisions  leads  inevitably  to  the  assumption  among  some  propor- 
tion of  our  respondents  that  concern  with  decency  and  fairness  for 
victims  of  political  accusation  is  foreign  to  the  policy  makers. 

In  summary,  the  psychological  themes  emerging  from  that  part  of 
the  interview  which  focussed  on  "blacklisting"  are  unmistakably, 
though  in  a  one-sided  fashion,  related  to  the  general  employment  situa- 
tion which  confronts  the  industry's  talent.  Enthusiasm  for  their  jobs 
does  not  influence  the  views  that  the  persons  interviewed  take  towards 
"blacklisting".  But  those  features  of  the  general  employment  situation 
to  which  talent  objects  are  closely  interwoven  with  their  views  on 
"blacklisting".  This  is  the  picture  which  results,  a  picture  often  only 
intensifying  already  existing  trends:  "blacklisting"  procedures  are  met 
with  fear,  frustration,  a  conviction  that  innocent  people  are  suspected, 
constriction  and  cynicism  on  the  part  of  talent;  an  unresolved  conflict 
of  conscience  on  the  part  of  management,  with  a  notion  that  going 
along  with  the  temper  of  the  times  is  required  if  they  are  to  serve  the 
best  interest  of  their  clients.  The  situation  is  further  confused  by  the 
fact  that  responsibility  is  hard  to  allocate  in  a  field  in  which  many  rela- 
tively independent  units  cooperate.  Thus,  outside  pressure  groups  have 
achieved  a  foothold  in  the  situation.  And  since  communication  between 
policy  makers  and  talent  is  rare  and  secrecy  surrounds  many  proce- 
dures, even  the  deliberate  efforts  of  leaders  in  the  industry  to  protect 
talent  remain  unacknowledged.  Thus  —  in  spite  of  executive  concern, 
thoughtfulness,  and  conflict  of  conscience  —  "blacklisting"  procedures 
continue  in  the  industry. 

Neither  among  talent  nor  among  policy  leaders  is  there  much  con- 
viction that  the  national  interest  is  served  by  "blacklisting"  procedures. 
If  the  industry  as  a  whole  nevertheless  complies  with  what  they  perceive 
to  be  the  climate  of  opinion,  other  motives  are  involved:  the  wish  to 
keep  a  job  and  the  wish  to  keep  a  client.  These  are  strong  motives, 


firmly  embedded  in  the  structure  of  the  industry.  Even  though  they 
are  not  the  only  motives  operating  it  would  be  misleading  to  disregard 
them.  Unless  the  industry  becomes  convinced  that  jobs  and  clients  can 
be  kept  without  "blacklisting"  procedures,  these  procedures  will  con- 
tinue to  plague  radio  and  television. 

An  Examination  of  the  Rationale  for  "Blacklisting" 

One  cannot  look  at  the  manner  in  which  anti-communism  affects  the 
industry's  employment  policies  without  raising  the  question  whether 
the  function  served  by  these  policies  is  of  such  importance  that  it  war- 
rants their  psychological  consequences.  If  these  policies  are  required 
in  the  interest  of  national  security  or  if  their  existence  improved  the 
quality  of  the  materials  that  go  on  the  air,  the  question  would  have  to 
be  answered  in  the  affirmative.  The  situation  would  then  be  much  the 
same  as  it  is  with  the  federal  security  program  for  government  em- 
ployees: there,  too,  undesirable  consequences  exist.  But  since  there  is 
an  overwhelming  consensus  that  security  checks  of  federal  employees 
are  required  in  the  national  interest,  an  improvement  of  procedures  is 
called  for,  rather  than  the  abolition  of  the  program. 

The  situation  is,  however,  different  in  the  entertainment  industry. 
We  have  not  come  across  anyone  who  maintains  that  our  national 
security  is  safeguarded  by  these  procedures.  And  no  one  argues  seri- 
ously that  the  content  of  radio  and  television  programs  has  been  affected 
by  "blacklisting",  for  better  or  for  worse.  The  industry  itself  seems 
convinced  of  two  facts:  subversive  ideas  were  not  propagated  over  the 
air  before  "blacklisting"  started;  and  the  accusation  that  the  very  best 
people  were  eliminated  from  the  air  by  "blacklisting"  is  for  the  most 
part  without  foundation. 

If  the  belief  nevertheless  persists  that  the  industry  cannot  get  along 
without  using  some  check  on  the  political  views  and  affiliations  of  the 
talent  it  employs,  this  is  due  to  a  chain  of  assumptions  about  psycho- 
logical responses  including  assumptions  about  the  public  at  large  and 
about  what  people  refer  to  as  "sponsor  psychology". 

To  speak  of  "sponsor  psychology"  already  implies  an  assumption 
which  is,  to  say  the  least,  questionable.  It  may  make  sense  to  speak 
about  the  psychological  responses  of  a  group  of  people  who  find  them- 
selves in  the  same  situation  and  are  exposed  to  similar  policies  and 
practices.  Sponsors  are  not  in  such  a  situation.  All  they  have  in 


common  is  that  they  are  supporting  radio  and  television  financially 
because  they  expect  —  and  receive  —  a  return  for  their  advertising 
dollars.  Apart  from  this,  their  psychological  reactions  will  differ  and 
be  moulded  by  the  very  special  situations  in  which  each  of  them  finds 
himself.  What  is  more,  since  sponsors  are  not  in  close  touch  with  each 
other,  their  reactions  will  presumably  be  quite  diverse  even  to  common 
problems.  In  the  thinking  of  the  industry,  however,  there  seems  to  be 
little  recognition  of  individuality  in  sponsor  reactions. 

A  most  significant  corollary  of  this  assumption  about  the  sponsors 
is  the  belief  that  they  are  exclusively  motivated  by  profit  considerations. 
To  be  sure,  they  are  in  business  to  make  a  profit.  But  it  is  unjustifiable 
to  assume  that  American  industrialists  and  business  men  are  so  thor- 
oughly dominated  by  the  profit  motive  as  to  pursue  it  ruthlessly  with- 
out permitting  any  considerations  of  fairness,  due  process  and  general 
decency  to  deter  them  from  achieving  this  one  goal.  American  industry 
has  long  since  discovered  that  profit  and  decency  are  not  mutually 
exclusive.  There  is  no  reason  to  believe  that  this  lesson  learned  since 
the  days  of  the  robber  barons  has  been  forgotton. 

A  second  assumption  concerns  one  particular  group  of  sponsors,  the 
production  goods  sponsors  rather  than  the  consumption  goods  sponsors. 
The  latter  obviously  wish  to  sell  their  goods  directly  through  advertis- 
ing. The  production  goods  manufacturers  advertise  to  the  general  pub- 
lic for  the  purposes  of  obtaining  good  will.  Now  the  assumption  is 
made  that  sponsors  equate  good  will  with  the  absence  of  criticism.  It  is 
conceivable  that  some  sponsors  actually  have  this  rather  narrow  notion 
of  good  will.  But  it  is  hardly  conceivable  that  many  do  not  interpret 
good  will  in  a  more  positive  way:  that  good  will  is  generated  from  a 
positive  appreciation  of  what  a  company  does  to  make  superior  enter- 
tainment and  education  available  to  the  public.  In  other  words,  the 
assumption  that  all  companies  evaluate  one  letter  of  criticism  as  more 
important  than  one  —  or  even  ten,  as  it  is  said  —  letters  of  praise,  is  not 
justified  without  proof.  It  is  hard  to  imagine  that  industrial  concerns 
are  actually  judging  their  standing  in  the  community  by  so  inappropriate 
a  yardstick  as  the  expression  of  dissatisfaction  by  a  minute  fraction  of 
the  general  public. 

With  regard  to  the  general  public,  the  fundamental  assumption  is 
that  the  public  treats  shopping  as  a  political  act.  It  has  already  been 
pointed  out  that  this  is  unlikely.  But  much  the  same  idea,  less  extremely 


formulated,  appears  to  carry  weight  in  the  industry.  The  assumption  is 
made  that  an  unquestioned  reputation  of  a  sponsor  will  lead  the  public 
to  choose  his  brand  rather  than  that  of  a  producer  about  whose  policies 
questions  have  been  asked;  furthermore,  that  the  public  actually  does 
ask  questions  about  employment  policy,  or  is  aware  of  procedures  in 
that  area.  To  the  best  of  our  knowledge  these  assumptions  about  the 
public  have  never  been  definitely  proved  either  right  or  wrong.  But 
there  is  some  fragmentary  evidence  to  the  effect  that  they  are  ques- 
tionable. In  those  cases  where  networks  and  sponsors  have  chosen  to 
ignore  a  threat  of  boycott,  mentioned  earlier  in  this  report,  no  unfavor- 
able public  reactions  ensued.  Moreover,  there  does  not  appear  to  be  an 
unfavorable  response  to  the  efforts  of  the  companies  that  use  more 
lenient  standards  and  employ  persons  excluded  by  other  companies  for 
political  reasons. 

Suggestions  for  Change 

Those  who  draw  from  the  foregoing  analysis  the  conclusion  that 
morale  with  regard  to  "blacklisting"  in  the  industry  should  and  could 
be  better  than  it  is  will  be  concerned  with  the  question  of  how  to  im- 
prove the  situation.  This  question  was  actually  the  focus  of  interest  in 
the  discussions  with  top  executives  of  the  industry.  On  the  assumption, 
questioned  only  by  one  of  them,  that  the  morale  survey  identified  cor- 
rectly significant  aspects  of  morale,  in  spite  of  the  small  number  of 
respondents,  they  were  asked  to  comment  on  a  variety  of  possible 
procedures  for  improvement  of  the  situation.  Most  of  the  procedures 
suggested  for  discussion  were  adaptations  of  plans  and  ideas  which  have 
been  talked  about  in  the  industry  for  several  years  and  had  therefore 
had  the  benefit  of  critical  evaluation  by  those  who  would  have  to  imple- 
ment them.  Two  factors  justified  going  over  such  old  ground.  First, 
while  none  of  these  plans  had  been  adopted,  the  reasons  for  their  rejec- 
tion were  largely  unknown.  It  was  thought  that  an  understanding  of 
why  the  industry  had  turned  down  previous  plans  might  make  it  pos- 
sible to  develop  new  ones  which  avoided  objectionable  features.  Sec- 
ond, there  was  the  possibility  that  one  of  the  reasons  for  rejecting  these 
plans  previously  was  not  that  they  were  unsound  but  that  policy 
makers  felt  there  was  little  reason  for  doing  anything  about  "black- 
listing" in  the  belief  that  it  had  no  appreciable  consequences  for  the 
ordinary  running  of  their  organizations.  Should  the  results  of  our 


survey  modify  this  belief  where  it  existed,  a  reconsideration  of  old  plans 
in  the  light  of  new  evidence  might  occur. 

One  of  these  plans  had  been  suggested  originally  by  lawyers  outside 
the  industry  and  also,  with  modifications,  by  the  American  Federation 
of  Television  and  Radio  Artists.  Its  basic  idea  was  the  establishment  of 
an  advisory  council  to  the  industry,  composed  of  leading  clergymen 
of  the  three  major  religions,  who  would  deal  with  individual  cases  in  an 
individual  and  confidential  way,  communicating  to  the  employer  only 
their  final  judgment  as  to  the  general  trustworthiness  of  a  person. 

The  rationale  for  this  plan  is  as  follows:  problems  which  may  arise 
about  the  employability  of  a  person  are  largely  those  of  conscience, 
ethical  standards  and  forgiveness  for  mistakes  made  in  the  past.  The 
most  widely  respected  experts  on  such  problems  in  our  society  are 
religious  leaders;  their  word,  it  was  felt,  would  command  respect  and 
safeguard  organizations  against  accusations  of  negligence  or  lack  of 

While  some  positive  features  of  this  plan  were  recognized  by  prac- 
tically everyone,  there  was  little  enthusiasm  for  it.  Negative  features 
were  pointed  out  and  its  general  applicability  and  effectiveness  were 
doubted.  The  objection  was  raised  that  the  plan  would  inevitably  dis- 
criminate against  a  person  not  identified  with  one  of  the  three  major 
religions.  Furthermore,  it  was  pointed  out  that  the  technique  of  referral 
to  such  an  advisory  council  posed  serious  problems  (and  these  prob- 
lems were  regarded  as  unsolved  also  in  other  related  plans  suggesting 
advisory  councils  of  different  composition).  There  are  basically  two 
methods  of  referral:  self -referral  or  referral  by  the  employer.  Self- 
referral  raises  the  question  as  to  the  evaluation  of  persons  who  do  not 
choose  to  take  this  step.  To  make  the  plan  compulsory  for  all  would 
certainly  defeat  its  spirit  by  imposing  an  infringement  of  individual 
freedom.  If  self-referral  occurred  only  in  cases  of  persons  already  in 
trouble,  "clearance"  by  an  advisory  council  would  have  little  value 
since  many  employers  apparently  feel  that  the  damage  has  already  been 
done  by  having  the  individual  become  "controversial"  in  the  mind  of 
the  public. 

Referral  by  the  employer,  on  the  other  hand,  obviously  presupposes 
that  the  employer  has  already  acquired  some  knowledge  about  a  per- 
son which  leads  him  to  doubt  his  employability.  Such  acquisition  of 
knowledge  is  possible  only  if  the  employer  has  his  own  procedures  for 


checking  on  the  political  beliefs  and  associations  of  personnel,  or,  at 
least,  for  dealing  with  information  from  sources  outside  the  industry. 
In  other  words  the  council  would  have  to  duplicate  available  machinery. 
The  plan  thus  loses  one  of  the  major  advantages  it  appeared  to  offer, 
at  first  sight,  to  the  employers,  namely  to  make  it  unnecessary  for  them 
to  concern  themselves  with  these  matters. 

Another  type  of  plan  had  as  its  basic  idea  the  establishment  of  a  code 
of  ethics  for  personnel  practices  with  regard  to  political  matters.  Such 
a  code  might  be  established  either  by  a  group  of  major  sponsors,  or  by 
one  of  the  nation-wide  organizations  in  the  industry  (the  American 
Association  of  Advertising  Agencies  or  the  Association  of  National 
Advertisers),  or  by  some  other  group  or  combination  of  groups.  The 
adoption  of  this  code  by  individual  organizations  would  be  on  a  volun- 
tary basis  according  to  one  version,  or  obligatory  on  membership  or- 
ganizations according  to  another. 

The  rationale  for  this  plan  is  as  follows:  one  of  the  aspects  most 
resented  by  employees  in  the  current  situation  is  the  absence  of  known 
standards  and  the  secrecy  surrounding  procedures.  Such  secrecy,  many 
felt,  was  conducive  to  the  abuse  of  fair  play  and  to  practices  in  a  few 
individual  organizations  which  would  not  bear  the  light  of  day.  The 
enunciation  of  fair  principles  by  responsible  sections  of  the  industry 
might,  it  was  felt,  influence  for  the  better  the  entire  atmosphere  and 
combat  cynicism  and  mistrust. 

The  reception  of  this  proposal  was  not  much  better  than  that  ac- 
corded to  the  first  plan,  even  though  many  executives  agreed  with  its 
aim  and  some  of  the  positive  features.  Objections  were  numerous,  in 
particular  with  regard  to  the  involvement  of  industry-wide  representa- 
tion. Legal  counsels  of  various  organizations  had  given  this  point 
considerable  thought  and  had  concluded  that  such  agreements  might 
eventually  lead  to  a  charge  of  conspiracy.  In  addition,  some  executives 
expressed  strong  doubts  that  consensus  on  substantive  matters  could 
be  reached  in  any  of  the  nation-wide  organizations.  Past  attempts 
in  that  direction  had  demonstrated  sharp  cleavages  which  they  felt  cer- 
tain could  not  be  reconciled. 

On  the  other  hand,  at  least  one  or  two  executives  felt  that  any 
initiative  taken  by  sponsors  and  conveyed  by  them  to  advertising  agen- 
cies held  some  promise. 

A  third  type  of  plan  was  based  on  an  approach  to  the  public.   The 


idea  was  that  a  statement  by  Mr.  J.  Edgar  Hoover  on  the  methods  of 
the  F.B.I,  with  regard  to  the  discovery  of  subversion  might  reassure 
the  public.  Such  a  statement,  it  was  suggested,  broadcast  and  televised 
over  all  stations  might  contrast  the  expert  methods  of  the  F.B.I,  with 
the  fumbling  and  often  interfering  amateur  efforts  of  untrained  individ- 
uals or  groups. 

The  rationale  behind  this  plan  was  as  follows:  as  has  been  pointed 
out,  one  justification  for  the  employment  procedures  whose  conse- 
quences have  been  described,  is  the  assumption  that  public  opinion 
is  so  deeply  aroused  about  questions  of  political  ideology,  that  shoppers 
would  turn  against  a  manufacturer  who  followed  different  policies. 

If  this  assumption  is  granted,  the  public  needs  reassurance  about  the 
protection  of  internal  security,  information  about  the  difference  between 
conspiracy  and  heresy,  and  education  about  the  positive  values  of 
diversity  and  of  controversy  in  political  life. 

None  of  the  executives  objected  to  this  plan.  Its  impact  on  the 
general  public  and  its  effectiveness  in  allaying  the  fears  in  the  industry 
about  negative  public  reaction,  however,  were  doubted.  Some  execu- 
tives pointed  out  that  the  problem  needed  to  be  tackled  inside  the 
industry  rather  than  in  public  statements.  Others  felt  that  no  single 
statement,  however  well  publicized  and  by  however  important  a  per- 
son, would  turn  the  tide.  One  executive  pointed  out  that  some  such 
statement  had  actually  been  made  in  a  more  general  context  by  Mr. 
Hoover,  and  had  not  had  an  appreciable  impact  on  groups  responsible 
for  some  of  the  organized  mail  campaigns  used  against  individuals  in 
radio  and  television. 

The  discussions  with  executives  in  the  industry  thus  certainly  clari- 
fied the  reasons  for  the  rejection  of  some  approaches  to  the  problem 
of  "blacklisting." 

Paradoxically,  perhaps,  one  of  the  general  shortcomings  inherent 
in  all  the  suggestions  reviewed  above  is  that  they  were  too  concrete.  In 
a  sense,  they  all  assumed  to  varying  degrees  that  a  consensus  of  opinon 
on  employment  policies  could  or  should  exist  in  the  industry.  It  does 
not.  And  perhaps  it  should  not  in  a  country  determined  to  maintain 
diversity  and  to  resist  regimentation. 

What  remains  to  be  done?  It  is  impossible  at  present  to  suggest  a 
blue-print  for  action  which  would  have  a  chance  of  being  accepted. 
There  appears  to  be  no  shortcut  to  change  through  concerted  and  im- 


mediate  action.  However,  a  public  debate  might  be  initiated  to  air 
the  facts  as  well  as  the  assumptions,  views  and  values  of  all  concerned 
with  the  problem,  wherever  they  may  stand.  In  argument  and  counter- 
argument the  necessary  correctives  of  current  procedures  may  be 
forthcoming.  While  such  a  debate  should  exclude  nobody,  it  should, 
for  obvious  reasons,  involve  mostly  those  within  the  industry.  It  might 
best  be  initiated  by  those  who,  by  virtue  of  the  structure  of  the  indus- 
try, are  in  the  best  position  to  contribute  statements  as  individuals  with 
undivided  responsibility,  that  is  by  sponsors.  The  stature  of  such  a 
debate  would  be  enhanced  if  it  were  opened  by  presidents  of  the  best 
known  industrial  concerns  in  the  country.  In  such  an  atmosphere,  the 
greatest  barrier  to  change  —  the  assumption  that  such  matters  cannot  be 
talked  about  —  would  soon  fall.  And  as  the  minds  of  many  would  be 
stimulated  to  concern  themselves  with  these  questions,  faulty  thinking 
and  fearful  action  may  gradually  disappear. 



Interview  Schedule  and  Numerical  Results 

NOTE:  This  appendix  contains  the  interview  schedule  used  for  the  morale 
survey.  After  each  question,  the  numerical  results  of  the  survey  are  pre- 
sented. These  figures  should  be  regarded  with  the  qualifications  in  mind 
which  have  been  emphasized  in  the  body  of  the  report. 

Where  answers  add  to  64  (number  of  respondents)  only  one  answer  per 
question  was  counted.  Where  totals  are  not  indicated,  respondents  gave  more 
than  one  answer  to  one  question. 

The  letters  D.K.  and  N.A.  stand  for:  "don't  know"  and  "no  answer.*' 

Not  all  the  data  presented  in  the  following  tables  have  been  used  in  the 

preceding  report.    To  assist  the  reader  in  forming  an  independent  opinion 

on  the  material,  tables  not  fully  used  in  the  report  are  marked  by  an 

asterisk  (*). 


*1.  First  of  all,  would  you  tell  me  how  long  you 

have  been  in 




Predominantly  in 

Radio         TV 


1-2  years 

1              6 


3-4  years 



5-8  years 

2            19 


9  years  or  more 

20              8 



23            41 


2.  And  what  do  yon  Ho  in  (Radio)   (TV)  9 

ANSWERS:  Talent 


Producers  and  Directors 


Writers  and  Commentators 






About  how  many  times  have  you  been  on  since  this 
time  last  year? 

About  how  many  of  your  scripts  have  been  used  since 
this  time  last  year? 
About  how  many  shows  have  you  put  on  since  this 
time  last  year? 
ANSWERS:  Less  than  once  a  month 
1-4  times  a  month 
2-5  times  a  week 
6  times  a  week  or  more 

*4.  What  do  you  like  most  about  working  in  (Radio)  (TV)? 


Economic  factor  ("the  money") 

Work  is  enjoyable,  fun,  interesting 

Work  is  easy,  working  hours  easy 

Work  is  challenging 

Work  is  worthwhile,  contribution  to  culture 

Camaraderie,  nice  interesting  people 

Entertaining  other  people 

Fame;  thrill  of  having  millions  as  audience 

Superior  medium  for  expression 


Other  reasons 

D.K.,  N.A. 







Top  level 



























5.  What  do  you  dislike  most  about  working  in  (Radio)  (TV)? 


(Probe  each  dislike  for  adjustment):  How  do  you  handle  that  yourself? 
OR  Is  there  anything  you  can  do  about  that? 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Economic  factor  (job  insecurity)  12  4 

No  sense  of  personal  accomplishment,  low  standards, 

technique  more  important  than  talent  and  quality  26  8 

Nervous  pressure  25  8 

Medium  controlled  by  non-creative  people;  (executives, 
ad  agencies,  sponsors  versus  creativity);  desire 
to  please  everyone  32  16 


Falsity  in  personal  relations;  methods  of  getting  job 

or  advancement  6  1 

Outside  pressure  groups  3  2 

Blacklisting  6 

Radio  dying  from  TV  competition  8  4 

Other  reasons  18  5 

DK.,  N.A.  3  0 

6.  In  general,  would  you  rather  work  in   (Radio)    (TV)   or  would  you 
prefer  doing  something  else? 

Prefer  (Radio)  (TV)       

Prefer  (job  description)  


Why  is  that? 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Like  what  I  am  doing  29  9 

Would  like  different  job  in  industry  (TV  instead  of 

radio,  serious  instead  of  comic,  etc.)  4 

Prefer  theater  or  movies  22  5 

Like  what  I  am  doing  but  want  also  theater  or  movie  2  1 

Prefer  to  leave  industry  2  1 

Other  1  0 

D.K.,  N.A.  J_  JO 

64  20 

*7.  What  do  you  consider  the  most  difficult  problem  facing  the  (Radio) 
(TV)  industry  today? 



Economic  survival:  Immaturity  5 

Management  does  not  meet  Mediocrity,  poor  quality  29 

TV  challenge  7       High  production  costs  7 

Radio  must  lose  6      Sponsors  and  ad  agencies  only 

Challenge  serious  but  radio  interested  in  selling  8 

can  win  11       Blacklisting  1 

Others  2       Others  7 

D.K.,  N.A.  1       Management  misjudges  public  1 

D.K.,  N.A.  0 

*8.  Who  is  the  most  successful  (use  respondent's  job  title) 

in  (Radio)   (TV)  today? 

Why  do  you  say  (he)  (she)  is  the  most  successful? 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Makes  most  money  19  10 


Does  most  work                                                                                    12  5 

Most  able                                                                                              39  11 

Highest  prestige  with  public  (highest  ratings)                                   13  4 

Highest  prestige  within  industry                                                           8  3 

D.K.,  N.A.                                                                                              7  1 

(Probe):  Is  this  success  actually  deserved?  — Is  (he)    (she)  the  best? 

ANSWERS:                                                                                          All  Top  level 

Yes                                                                                                         36  13 

Yes,  with  qualifications  16  3 
No  22 
D.K.,  N.A.  10_ 

64  20 

Apart  from  ability,  how  did  (he)  (she)  actually  get  where  (he)  (she) 

is  now? 

ANSWERS:                                                                                          All  Top  level 

Reaffirms  ability                                                                                 12  5 

Hard  work                                                                                             26  6 

Lack  of  competition                                                                              4  0 

Luck;  good  breaks                                                                                  8  5 

Knowing  right  people                                                                           12  4 

Connivance  0 

Nice  person                                                                                         2  1 

Other                                                                                                    2  0 

D.K.,  N.A.                                                                                           9  3 

*9.  Have  you  ever  turned  down  a  job  even  though  you  were  available? 

Yes What  were  your               No Can  you  think  of  any  rea- 

reasons?                                             son  that  would  induce  you  to  turn 

down  a  job? 

Can  you  think  of  any  other  reasons  that  would  induce  you  to  turn  down 
a  job? 

ANSWERS:                                                                                          All  Top  level 

Yes                                                                                                         52  19 

No                                                                                                       11  1 

D.K.,  N.A.                                                                                               1  0 

64  20 

Response  in  terms  of  unavailability                                                 13  7 

Not  enough  money                                                                           23  11 

Bad  part;  low  class  work                                                                  6  3 

Would  have  looked  like  a  comedown                                               14  5 

No  professional  advantage  or  satisfaction                                        33  10 


Personality  clash 

Didn't  want  to  work  (vacation) 

Against  my  principles  (sensational,  cheap,  etc.) 

Against  my  principles   (political) 

Inconvenient  location 


D.K..  N.A. 








*10.  If  someone  asked  you  to  contribute  your  services,  without  pay,  to  £ 
benefit  show,  would  you  accept? 

Yes Are  there  any  condi-      No Can  you  give  me  your 

ditions  under  which  you  reasons? 

wouldn't  do  it? 

It  depends Under  what  conditions  would  you  do  it? 

Under  what  conditions  wouldn't  you  do  it? 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Yes  38  12 

No  1  0 

It  depends  23  8 

Other  1  0 

D.K.,  N.A.  1  0 

64"  20~ 


Time,  job  interference  13  4 

Abuse  of  contributed  services  14  7 

Idiosyncratic  professional  reasons  6  4 

Lack  of  sympathy  for  cause  25  9 

Not  for  any  political  cause  3  0 

Would  make  inquiries  first  about  possible  political  exploitation      15  3 

Not  if  left-wing  cause  2  0 

Not  if  possibly  communistic,  subversive,  un-American  cause  14  4 

Other  1  o 

D.K.,  N.A.  1  0 

*11.  Career-wise,  where  would  you  like  to  be  in  five  years? 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Where  I  am  now  12  5 

Greater  income  6  0 

Somewhat  extended  activities  15  5 

Considerable  extension  of  activities  10  0 

At  the  top  3  i 

Shift  from  staff  position  to  free-lance  3  2 


Shift  from  free-lance  to  staff  position 

Shift  to  other  activity  in  industry 

Shift  from  Radio  to  TV 

Shift  to  (also)  theater  and  movies 

Shift  to  ad  agency,  author 

D.K.,    N.A. 

What  do  you  think  your  chances  are  of  achieving  this? 


No  chance,  poor  chance 

Fair  chance 

Good  chance 

Excellent  chance 

D.K.,  N.A. 

What  would  help  you  achieve  this? 


Hard  work,  study,  perseverance 


Self-confidence,  self-reliance 

Having  the  right  contacts 

Good  publicity 

Pleasing  my  employer 

Financial  security  to  be  able  to  work  on  it 

Luck,  chance,  a  good  break 

D.A.,  N.A. 

What  might  hinder  you  in  achieving  this? 


If  I  don't  work  hard  enough,  no  perseverance 

Lack  of  ability 

Lack  of  self-confidence 

Lack  of  right  contacts 

Lack  of  publicity 

Difficulties  with  employer 

Financial  insecurity 

Bad  luck,  no  breaks 

D.K.,  N.A. 














Top  level 














Top  level 




















Top  level 



















12.  Do  people  in  (Radio)  (TV)  help  each  other  when  they  are  in  difficulties? 

Yes It  depends Where      No Why  not? 

would  they  help  and  where 

wouldn't  they? 

(Probe):  Where  would  they  draw  the  line? 


13.  In  regard  to  people  with  whom  you  work,  can  you  generally  tell  from 
the  way  they  act  towards  you  who  you  could  really  count  on? 

Yes How  do  you  tell  —  can      No Why  is  that? 

you  tell  me  about  that? 

ANSWERS   (combined):  All  Top  level 

Industry  personnel  particularly  helpful  27  10 

Industry  personnel  particularly  unhelpful  6  1 

Helpful  and  unhelpful  14  4 

No  difference  to  other  industries  11  4 

D.K.,  N.A.  6  1 

64  "20 

14.  Now  a  different  question: 

Suppose  that  someone  now  in  (Radio)  (TV)  is  named  as  a  Communist 
sympathizer  in  a  magazine.   He  really  isn't  now,  although  fifteen  years 
ago  he  attended  Communist  Party  meetings  for  a  short  time. 
What  do  you  think  will  happen  about  his  job  —  or  work? 
Would  you  say: 

It  will  make  no  difference to  his  job. 

He  will  probably  keep  his  job 

He  will  probably  lose  his  job 

Suppose  he  had  known  two  months  in  advance  that  his  name  would 
appear,  what  could  he  have  done  to  avoid  his  job  being  affected? 

(Intensive  neutral 


ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Will  keep  job  13  5 

Will  lose  job  31  10 

50:50  chance;  it  varies  14  3 

D.K.,  N.A.  6  2 

64  20 

*15.  Suppose  a  friend  of  yours  was  in  that  situation,  would  he  be  likely  to 
come  to  you  for  advice? 

Yes Why?          No Why  not? 

Maybe Can  you  tell  me  about  that? 

ANSWERS:  All  Top  level 

Yes  28  14 

No  13  2 

Maybe  19  4 

D.K.,  N.A.  4  0 

64"  20~ 


16.  Do  you  think  blacklisting  is  practiced  in  TV  and  Radio  now? 

(If  respondent  asks  for  a  definition  of  blacklist,  say:  "That's  what  we'd 
like  to  know.  —  How  would  you  define  it?") 

Yes No 

ANSWERS:  All  Top  level 

Yes  44  16 

No  82 

D.K.,  N.A.  12  2 

64"  20" 

17.  How  do  you  feel  about  blacklisting?   In  general,  do  you  think  it  does 
more  harm  or  more  good? 

More  harm More  good Why  do  you  feel  that? 

Don't  know 

ANSWERS:  All  Top  level 

More  harm  49  18 

More  good  3  0 

D.K.,  N.A.  12  2 

64~  20~ 

*18.  Can  you  tell  me  about  any  list  or  lists  that  you  know  of? 

*20.  Who  puts  out  (this  list)  (these  lists)? 

ANSWERS  (combined):  All  Top  level 


Red  Channels  41  16 

Aware  16  4 
Mr.  Johnson;  a  grocer  from  Syracuse, 

or  other  description  of  Mr.  J.  21  10 

Special  government  committees  4  1 

File  13;  Hartnett  4  1 

American  Legion,  Catholic  War  Veterans  5  2 

Counterattack;  Kirkpatrick  11  4 

Others  9  5 

No  names  mentioned  12  2 

D.K.,  N.A.  24  0 

Institutional  identification: 

Ad  agencies  25  13 

Sponsors  10  4 

Networks  13  7 

Private  organizations,  outsiders,  "mystery"  9  4 

No  institution  mentioned,  D.K.,  N.A.  27  3 


19.  What  are  some  of  the  things  a  person  might  have  done  which  could 

result  in  his  being  blacklisted? 

Suspected  of  being  a  Communist  or  fellow  traveller 
Suspected  of  having  been  a  Communist  or  fellow  traveller 
Accidental  or  personal  association  with  somebody  or 

something  now  suspect 

Current  political  views  and  activities,  non-Communist 
Union  activities,  past  or  present 
Immorality,   alcoholism,  homosexuality 
D.K.,  N.A. 

*21.  Does  a  person  know  whether  or  not  he  is  on  a  list? 
Usually Sometimes How 


It  varies 
D.K.,  N.A. 







Top  level 




does    he    know? 





Top  level 


22.  Is  a  person  ever  told  he  is  not  hired  because  he  is  on  a  list? 

Usually Sometimes Never 

Who  tells  him? 
D.K.,  N.A. 



Top  level 

*23.  If  someone  is  listed,  is  it  possible  to  get  some  jobs  hi  the  industry  and 
not  others,  or  is  the  listed  person  totally  unemployable  within  the 

Can  get  any  jobs some  jobs no  jobs 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Any  job  1  0 

Some  job  35  15 

No  job  4  1 

It  varies  2  1 

O.K.,  N.A.  22  3 




*24.  How  many  people  in  TV  and  Radio  together  do  you  think  are  handi- 
capped in  getting  jobs  because  they  are  blacklisted? 
Number or  Percent Don't  know. 


All      Top  level 

100  or  less 

2              0 

101  -  500 

5              3 

501  or  more 

4               1 

Very  small  %  or  number 

10              4 

10%  or  more 

2               1 

D.K.,  N.A. 

41             11 


64"           20" 

How  many  persons  do  you  think  should  be  out  of  TV 

and  Radio? 

Number                              nr  Perr.ent                              Hnn't  knnw 


All      Top  level 


21              7 

Facetious  answer:  (90%;  "the  business  people,"  etc.) 

5              2 

Communists  and  fellow  travellers 

5              2 

Fewer  than  there  are 

1               0 


1               0 

D.K.,  N.A. 

31              9 

64"           20" 

*25.  If  a  person  is  blacklisted  is  there  any  way  he  can  get 

off  the  list? 

Yes                      r!an  ynii  tell  me        No                    Hnw  is 


ahnut    that9                                                   Dnn't    knnw 


All      Top  level 

Can  get  off  list 

40            15 

Cannot  get  off  list 

4              2 

D.K.,  N.A. 

20              3 

64"           20" 


Once  off  the  list,  is  that  permanent? 

Yes  No  How        It  depends  How  do  you  mean? 

do  you  explain  thaP                    r)nn't  knnw 


All       Top  level 


10              2 

Not  permanent 

15               8 

D.K.  re  permanence 

15               5 

40"           15" 


*26.  Why  the  blacklist  in  the  first  place?   What  are  the 

reasons  behind  it? 



Top  level 

Climate  of  opinion,  Communist  scare,  hysteria 



Actual  Communist  danger  in  country 



Industry  has  too  many  left-wing  elements 



Industry  sensitive  to  criticism 



Fear,  lack  of  courage;  sponsor's  concern 



Mistaken  notion  that  there  are  many  Communists  in  industry 



Vigilantes,  misguided  patriotism 



D.K.,  N.A. 



(Probe):  Is  there  anyone  who  benefits?  Yes  





Top  level 




Those  not  on  list 



Listers  (money,  power) 



Public,  Security 






D.K.,  N.A. 



(Probe):  Is  professional  jealousy  involved? 

VPS                                    Can    ymj   tell    mp   about  that?     No 



Top  level 

Jealousy  involved 



Jealousy  not  involved 



D.K.,  N.A. 





(Probe):  Are  the  listers  sincere  and  patriotic? 



Top  level 

Listers  sincere,  unqualified 



Sincere  but  misguided,  crazy 



Some  sincere,  others  not 



Not  sincere 



Listers  sick,  pathological 



D.K.,  N.A. 





27.  We're  not  interested  in  names,  but  do  you  know  anyone  who  is  or  ever 
was  blacklisted? 





What  was  his  employer's  attitude? 

Employer  kept  him  on 

Wanted  to  keep  him  on  but  couldn't 

Fired  him  without  concern 

Person  was  free-lance 

Person  was  not  working  at  all  at  the  time 

D.K.,  N.A. 

All  Top  level 

50  17 

11  3 

3  0 

64  20 

All       Top  level 
7  2 





What  attitude  did  his  fellow-  (artists)    (writers)    (etc.)  take? 

ANSWERS:                                                                                          All  Top  level 

Helped  him                                                                                     7  3 

Wanted  to  help  him  but  couldn't                                                15  5 

Didn't  try  to  help  him                                                                  4  0 

Wanted  to  avoid  him                                                                       2  0 

D.K.,  N.A.                                                                                     22  9 

50"  17 

Is  what  happened  in  this  case  typical,  do  you  think? 

Yes No What  is  special  about  it? 

ANSWERS:                                                                                              All  Top  level 

Typical                                                                                                   24  8 

Not  typical                                                                                              6  2 

D.K.,  N.A.                                                                                             20  7 

50"  17 

28.  What  types  of  people  are  most  likely  to  be  blacklisted? 

(If  respondent  answers  "suspected  Communists,"  ask:  What  makes  them 

(If  respondent  answers  "liberals,  left  wingers,"  etc.,  ask:  Why  is  that?) 
ANSWERS:  All  Top  level 

Communists,  fellow  travellers,  subversives 

Radicals,  left-wingers 

Liberals,  active  liberals 

Socially  conscious,  active  people 

Incautious,  emotional  people 

People  who  performed  on  certain  benefit  shows 

Outspoken  people;  dissenters;  non-conformists 





Anti-blacklisters  3  1 

Minority  group  members  2  0 

Anyone  at  all;  anyone  who  gets  in  the  way  4  1 

People  who  joined  organizations  now  on  list  8  2 

Other  14  2 

D.K.,  N.A.  14  4 

*29.  Everyone  has,  of  course,  to  make  some  adjustments  to  the  temper  of 
the  times.  Are  there  any  things  a  person  in  the  industry  should  or 
should  not  do  in  order  to  avoid  being  criticized  on  political  grounds? 

Yes What?  (neutral  probes} 

No Can  you  comment  on  that? 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

No  need  for  precautions  2  2 

Some  precautions  51  14 

D.K.,  N.A.  11  4 

64~  20 

What  about  yourself?    Are  there  any  things  you  feel  you  should  or 
should  not  do  in  order  to  avoid  being  criticized  on  political  grounds? 
What  about  others  in  the  industry?    Are  there  any  things  people-in- 
general  in  the  industry  should  or  should  not  do  in  order  to  avoid  being 
criticized  on  political  grounds? 

ANSWERS  (for  industry) :  All      Top  level 

No  need  for  precautions  1  1 

Some  precautions  44  16 

O.K.,  N.A.  19  3 

64  20 

(Probe):  What  about  being  friendly  with  certain  types  of  people? 


ANSWERS:  All      Top  level  All      Top  level 

Be  careful  92  94 

No  need  for  care  17  5  20 

D.K.,  N.A.  38  13  53  16 

64  "20  "64  20 

(Probe):  What  about  discussing  political  matters  around  the  studio? 


ANSWERS:  All      Top  level  All      Top  level 

Do  not  discuss  30  5  25  4 

Discuss  freely  74  00 

D.K.,  N.A.  27  11  39  16 

64  20  "64  20 


(Probe):  What  about  joining  organizations? 


ANSWERS:                                                       All      Top  level  All      Top  level 

Don't  join                                                       18              6  23              9 

Join  what  you  like                                         61  00 

No  interest  in  organizations                          17              4  0             0 

D.K.,  N.A.                                                       23              9  41             11 

64           "20  "64           "20 

*30.  Have  you  ever  found  yourself  hesitating  to  buy  a  certain  book  or 
magazine,  or  hesitating  to  leave  it  around  where  it  can  be  seen,  for 
fear  that  it  might  be  frowned  upon? 

Yes No Can  you  tell  me  about  that? 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Yes  11  5 

No  43  12 

D.K.,  N.A.  10  3 

64"  20 

*31.  Do  you  think  people  in  the  industry  ever  hesitate  to  buy  a  certain 
book  or  magazine  or  leave  it  around  where  it  can  be  seen,  for  fear 
that  it  might  be  frowned  upon? 

Yes No Can  you  tell  me  about  that? 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Yes  28            10 

No  13              3 

D.K.,  N.A.  23              7 

64~  20 


Is  there  any  subject  matter  or  treatment  of  subject  matter  that  you  feel 
it  would  be  wise  to  avoid  so  that  your  program  cannot  be  criticized  for 
containing  an  unpopular  political  slant? 

Yes No How  do  you  decide  this? 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Yes  16  6 

No  14  4 

D.K.,  N.A.  11  2 

33.  In  regard  to  blacklisting,  would  you  say  that  the  situation  is  getting 
better  or  getting  worse,  or  staying  about  the  same? 

Beter Worse About  the  same 

What  accounts  for  this? 





About  the  same 

D.K.,  N.A. 







Top  level 






(Probe}:  In  your  opinion,  has  there  been  any  particular  event  that 

accounts  for  this? 

Yes When  was  that?  Can  you  tell  me  about  it? 


ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Yes  (McCarthy's  decline,  Matusow  case, 

Ed  Murrow's  stand) 
D.K.,  N.A. 

34.  What  parts  of  the  industry   (are  for  the  blacklist)    (would  be  for 


Networks,  employers,  management 
Ad  agencies 

Creative  people 

Individuals   (no  group) 
Right  wing  politicians 
D.K.,  N.A. 

What  parts  of  the  industry  are  against  the  blacklist? 

Networks,  employers,  management 
Ad  agencies 

Left  wing   politicians 
Creative  people 
Blacklisted  people 
D.K.,  N.A. 










I  be  for  s 


Top  level 






















Top  level 


























*35.  Is  there  or  was  there  at  one  time  a  blacklist  against  conservatives  and 

Yes Can  you  tell  me  about  that?  No 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Yes  5              1 

Yes,  but  less  official  than  current  list  13              5 

No  29            10 

D.K.,  N.A.  17              4 

64  "20 

36.  Just  to  give  me  some  perspective,  how  important  do  you  feel  blacklisting 

is  in  relation  to  other  problems  in  the  industry? 

(Probe):  And  why  is  that? 

ANSWERS:  All      Top  level 

Very  important  18  9 

Minor  importance  25  7 

No  importance  6  3 

D.K.,  N.A.  15  1 

64  "20 

How  do  you  think  most  people  in  the  industry  feel  about  this? 

*37.  Now  just  a  few  questions  about  yourself. 

Are  you  married?  Married Single 

Have  you  ever  been  married?  Yes No 

Do  you  have  children?    Yes  —  35  No  —  29 

May  I  ask  their  ages? 


Married -52  Single  -  9  N.A.,    D.K.  -  3 

And  where  were  you  born?   59  in  U.S.A.;  5  abroad. 

What  is  the  name  of  the  last  school  you  attended? 


At  least  some  college  —  45  Less  than  college  —  14  N.A.  —  5 

Is  (Radio)   (TV)  the  main  source  of  family  income? 
Yes  -  52  No  -  8  N.A.  -  4 

For  what  network  do  you  do  most  of  your  work? 
ABC -10  CBS -25  NBC -23  Others  -  2  Several  -  4 

Would  you  mind  telling  me  what  newspaper  you  read  most  often? 

How  often  is  that? 


56  at  least  4  times  a  week  a  daily  paper. 
4  less  than  4  times  a  week  a  daily  paper. 
4  N.A. 


And,  finally,  did  you  vote  in  the  last  presidential  election? 


Yes  -  46  No  -  13  N.A.  -  5 


Approximate  age  of  respondent Sex 

Men  -  50  Women  -  14 

Age:  -30 7  46  + 13 

31-45     41  N.A 4 

Brief  description  of  respondent,  including  mannerisms,  willingness  to  answer 
questions,  interviewer's  estimate  of  degree  of  honesty  and/or  realism  in 
answering  questions,  and  any  other  material  which  will  help  us  recreate  the 
interview  situation:  such  as  a  few  words  on  the  respondent's  office  or  living 
conditions.  State  where  interview  took  place. 

Spoke  more  or  less  freely  52  Showed  open  concern 

Did  not  speak  freely          10  for  anonymity  12 

N.A.  2 

What  questions  were  the  most  difficult  to  handle?   Why? 

None  32  Q.  28  3 

Blacklisting  questions         10  Q.'s  4,  5,  11,  13,  14, 

All  3  30,  36  (each)  1 

Q.  8  3  Not  ascertained  7 

Q.  26  3 

Date  of  interview 

Time:  From to 

(A.M./P.M.)  (A.M./P.M.) 

Travel  time 

Editing  time 

Other  time 


Total  time : 


Interview  No 



Letter  of  Introduction  to  Talent 

This  is  to  introduce. 

who  is  assisting  me  in  a  study  of  Television  and  Radio. 

The  purpose  of  this  study  is  to  obtain  a  picture  of  policies  and  practices 
in  the  entertainment  industry,  as  they  are  actually  experienced  by  those  who 
work  in  it.  The  only  way  to  obtain  this  picture  is  to  interview  persons  like 
yourself  who  are  in  the  midst  of  it.  Altogether  we  plan  to  interview  about 
100  persons. 

You  may  wish  to  know  how  we  selected  you  as  a  participant  in  the  study. 
In  scientific  work  of  this  kind  it  is  very  important  to  select  people  for 
interviewing  without  introducing  any  bias  in  the  choice,  such  as  we  might 
have  done  had  we  approached  people  in  TV  and  radio  through  personal 
contacts.  This  is  why  we  went  to  a  lot  of  trouble  in  establishing  as  complete 
a  list  as  possible  of  persons  working  in  TV  or  radio  in  New  York  City. 
From  this  list  we  then  picked  names  at  random.  Yours  happens  to  be 
included.  I  am  very  glad  to  know  that  you  expressed  your  willingness  to 
be  interviewed. 

I  want  to  add  another  point:  Persons  in  your  profession  are,  as  I  know, 
rightly  much  concerned  with  publicity.  Scientific  studies  of  this  kind  are 
possible  only  if  the  individuals  who  cooperate  with  it  remain  completely 
anonymous  in  any  publication  of  our  results.  I  am  sure  you  will  agree  that 
this  is  a  wise  principle,  if  you  consider  that  you  or  others  may  wish  to  speak 
your  mind  frankly  without  having  to  consider  consequences.  I  hope  you 
will  accept  my  word  of  honor,  if  I  assure  you  that  I  personally  guarantee 
that  what  you  care  to  say  in  the  interview  will  remain  completely  anonymous. 

If  there  is  anything  else  about  the  study  that  you  may  wish  to  know, 
please  call  me  on  the  'phone  or  write  to  me.  I  shall  be  happy  to  answer  all 
your  questions. 

I  think  you  will  enjoy  the  interview.  Thank  you  very  much  for  your 

Sincerely  yours, 

Professor  of  Psychology 



Letter  to  Top  Executives  of  Networks,  Advertising  Agencies 
and  Packaging  Firms 


During  the  past  several  months  I  have  been  conducting  a  study  of  the 
attitudes  and  opinions  of  persons  about  their  work  in  radio  and  TV,  the 
satisfactions  and  frustrations  they  experience,  and  the  more  general  problems 
which  they  feel  confront  the  industry.  A  good  portion  of  the  personal 
interviews  which  my  staff  conducted  with  talent,  writers,  producers  and 
directors  concerned  the  question  of  blacklisting.  A  preliminary  exploration 
of  the  field  had  convinced  me  that  this  issue  had  to  be  appraised  in 
conjunction  with  other  aspects  of  the  industry.  We  have  deliberately  not 
talked  to  persons  who  believe  they  themselves  have  been  blacklisted. 

The  analysis  of  the  interviews  yielded  a  most  fascinating  picture.  How- 
ever, I  am  convinced  that  this  picture  is  incomplete  without  the  comments 
of  the  leaders  and  policy  makers  in  the  field.  This  is  why  I  am  asking  for 
the  privilege  of  an  interview  with  you.  I  want  to  discuss  with  you  our 
findings  to  date  and  obtain  your  comments  before  submitting  a  final  report 
to  the  public. 

You  may  wish  to  know  that  the  study  is  being  financed  by  The  Fund 
for  the  Republic,  as  a  self-contained  section  of  their  larger  study  of  the 
entertainment  industry.  Let  me  add  that  I  am  talking  with  top  executives 
in  a  number  of  different  organizations  related  to  the  entertainment  industry 
or  in  the  industry  itself. 

I  believe  you  will  find  our  research  of  interest  and  I  look  forward  to 
discussing  it  with  you.  My  secretary  will  check  with  your  office  within  the 
next  few  days  regarding  a  convenient  time. 

Sincerely  yours, 

Professor  of  Psychology 



Actors  Equity  Association,  84,  94, 

143,  145,  158-161,  178,  211,  213, 


Actors'  Laboratory,  189 
Adler,  Larry,  30,  59 
Agronsky,  Martin,  87 
Alliance,  The,  131 
Aluminum  Company  of  America, 

American  Association  of  Advertising 

Agencies,  260 
American  Broadcasting  Co.  (ABC), 

24  fn.,  34,  45,  72-73,  78,  82,  85- 

88,  278 
American  Business  Consultants, 

l,3fn.,  50-51 
American  Civil  Liberties  Union, 

4,  10,42-43,88,  117,  121,227 
American  Federation  of  Radio 

Artists  (AFRA),  148 
American    Federation    of   Radio    & 

Television  Artists  (AFTRA),  95- 

98,    129-132,    137,    143-144,    148, 

151,  154-158,  162,  259 
American  Legion,  10,  23,  27,  37,  49, 

54-55,  58-62,  67,  90,  92,  104,  106- 

107,  110-113,  126,  128,  147,  169, 

174,  183,  186,  187,  213,  214,  227, 

240,  270 
American  Legion  Magazine,  28,  93, 

American  Mercury,  28,  85,  89,  93, 


Americans  for  Democratic  Action, 

88,  250 
American  Tobacco  Co.,  100-101, 


Amoury,  Robert,  131 
Anti-Defamation  League,  117,  121, 


"Appendix  Nine",  21,  59-61 
Armstrong  Cork  Co.,  193 
Arthur,  Jean,  213 
Artists'  Front  to  Win  the  War,  146, 

Associated  Actors  &  Artistes  of 

America,  13 
Associated  Press,  159 
Association  of  National  Advertisers, 

Association  of  Radio  News  Analysts, 

Attorney  General's  List,  117,  123, 

132,  219-220 
Authors  League  of  America,  39, 

68-69,  148 
AWARE,  Inc.,  18-19,  28,  44-46,  88, 

95,  98,   108,   120-121,   126,   128, 

129-142,  146-147,  149,  150,  154- 

158,  162,  209,  217,  227,  240,  270 

Backstrand,  C.  J.,  193 

Ball,  Lucille,  125 

Barrett,  Leslie,  95-96 

Barry,  Enright  &  Friendly,  Inc.,  199 

Barry,  Jack,  199 


Batten,  Barton,  Durstine  &  Osborn 
(BBD  &  O),  23,  60,  62,  90,  115- 
116,  118,  120,  124,  175 

Belafonte,  Harry,  8-9 

Bellak,  George,  215 

Berg,  Gertrude,  35-37 

Berkeley,  Martin,  124 

Berry,  Alfred,  63,  122-126, 186-187 

Bierly,  Ken,  3  fn. 

Biow  Co.,  25,  28 

Block  Drug  Co.,  54,  66 

Block,  Leonard  A.,  54 

Borden  Co.,  56,  105 

Brewer,  Roy,  61,95 

Bromberg,  J.  Edward,  187 

Brooklyn  Eagle,  126 

Brooklyn  Tablet,  85,  89,  147 

Brown,  Cecil,  75 

Brown,  Henry  C.,  196-199 

Brown,  Henry  C.,  Agency,  196-199 

Brownstein,  Rebecca,  211 

Buchanan,  Eleanor,  104-106 

Buchwald,  Nathaniel,  215 

Burdett,  Winston,  80  fn.,  126-127 

Burnett,  Leo,  Co.,  203 

Burnett,  Nicky,  26 

California  Un-American  Activities 

Committee,  1 
Carney,  Robert  F.,  199 
Carnovsky,  Morris,  47,  215 
Carroll,  Nancy,  30 
Carter,  Boake,  74 
Cary,  F.  Strother,  Jr.,  203 
Catholic  War  Veterans,  10,  13,  23, 

59,  95,  270 

Celanese  Corp.  of  America,  38,  41 
Chaplin,  Charles,  214 
Christians,  Mady,  39,  41,  46 
damage,  Edward,  24  fn.,  37 
Close,  Upton,  77 
Coca-Cola  Co.,  195 
Columbia  Artists  Management,  205 

Columbia  Broadcasting  System,  4, 
13-14,  17,  23-24,  35-37,  46,  62, 
68-69,  71-73,  75-82,  84-86,  90-91, 
105,  118,  122-128,  165,  168,  171, 
184,  186-187,  189,  192-193,  278 

Committee  for  the  First  Amendment, 

Communist  Party,  6-7,  10-12,  17,  23- 
24,  124,  132-133,  139-140,  144- 
146,  158-159,  193,  200,  202,  206, 
220,  224,  269 

Conran,  Kay,  203-204 

Coughlin,  Rev.  Charles  E.  74 

Counterattack,  1-17,  20,  23,  25-26, 
30,  32-33,  40-41,  45,  49,  54,  58, 
83-84,  89,  92,  104,  106-107,  110, 
119-120,  128,  161,  169,  176-177, 
187,  196,  200,  205,  208-209,  218, 
227,  240,  270 

Crosby,  John,  28,  31-32 

Daily  Worker,  The,  32-33,  111,  165, 

186,  206 

D'Arcy  Advertising  Co.,  195 
Dare,  Danny,  124 
Daughters  of  the  American 

Revolution,  10 
Davis,  Elmer,  72,  87-88 
Dekker,  Albert,  214 
De  Koven,  Roger,  16 
De  Lorenzo,  Anthony,  194 
Dies  Committee,  160 
Doan,Leland  I.,  193-194 
Dow  Chemical  Co.,  193-194 
Dowling,  Eddie,  146 
Dozier,  William,  63 
Draper,  Paul,  30,  59 
Dungey,  John,  107 
Durr,  Clifford  J.,  79 

Eastland,  James  O.,  126-127,  143 
Edwards,  Douglas,  80 
Ellington  &  Co.,  38,  41-42 


Ellington,  Jesse  T.,  38-39 
Ellis,  Michael,  214 
Erickson,  Leif ,  116 

Facts  About  Blacklist,  56 

Facts  Forum,  88 

Fagan,  Myron,  190 

Federal  Bureau  of  Investigation 
(FBI),  14,  89-90,  111,  122,  128, 
135,  145,  171,  223,  241,  245,  246, 
248,  261 

Federal    Communications    Commis- 
sion (FCC),  39-40,  73-74,  79 

Fidler,  Jimmy,  27 

File  13,  23, 93,  110,  121,  170,270 

Firing  Line,  49,  89,   106,   110-112, 
120,  169,  187,  196,  200,  218,  227 

Follett,  Mary  Parker,  206 

Foote,  Cone  &  fielding,  199 

Fortune,  122,  206-208 

Francis,  Clarence,  25,  35 

Fritschel,  E.  G.,  195 

Gaeth,  Arthur,  80,  82 

Gailmor,  William  S.,  80,  82 

Galantiere,  Lewis,  208 

Gallup,  George,  30-31 

Gang,  Martin,  117,  121 

Geer,  Will,  215 

General  Foods  Corp.,  22-25,  28-31, 

34-37,  206-209 

General  Ice  Cream  Corp.,  102 
General  Mills,  Inc.,  173 
General  Motors  Corp.,  194 
Gersch,  Harry,  152-154 
Gilford,  Jack,  214-215 
Goetz,  Ruth,  39 
Gould,  Jack,  92-93,  130 
Grant,  Lee,  47 
Gross,  Ben,  33 


Hahn,  Paul  M.,  100-101,  194-195 

Hall,  Arthur  P.,  102 

Hall,  George,  145 

Hallmark  Cards,  Inc.,  204-205 

Harburg,Yip,  211 

Harkness,  Richard,  79 

Hartnett,  Vincent,  18-20,  23,  25-26, 

28,  92-99,  106,  110,  121,  130,  191, 

209,  270 

Hayes  Registry,  229  fn. 
Hays,  Arthur  Garfield,  50 
Hayworth,  Vinton,  45-46 
Heatter,  Gabriel,  79 
Heller,  George,  37 
Hersey,  John,  39-40 
Hidden,  Francis,  210 
Hobson,  Laura,  39 
Holmgren,  Roderick  B.,  80,  82-83 
Hoover,  J.  Edgar,  10,  133,  261 
Hottelet,  Richard,  80 
House  Committee  on  Un-American 

Activities,   1,  11,  14,  21,  60,  67, 

111,  124,  125  fn.,  130,  132,  135, 

145,  156,  174-175,211 
Howe,  Quincy,  127 
Hunt,  Marsha,  46 
Huntley,  Chet,  88 
Hurok  Attractions,  Inc.,  205-206 

Independent  Citizens  Committee  of 
the  Arts,  Sciences  &  Professions, 

International  Organizations  Employ- 
ees Loyalty  Board,  150 

Jacoby,  Lois,  47 

Jaffe,  Sam,  212 

John  Quincy  Adams  Associates,  3  fn. 

Johnson,  Laurence  A.,  54,  56,  63, 
92,  100-109,  171,  176-177,  180, 
214,  215,  240,  254-255,  270 

Joint  Anti-Fascist  Refugee 
Committee,  8 


Joint  Committee  Against  Commu- 
nism in  New  York,  30 

Judges  and  the  Judges,  The,  30-31, 

Julian,  Joe,  50-51 

Kaltenborn,  H.  V.,  71 

Kazan,  Elia,  180 

Keenan,  John,  3  fn. 

Kelley,  Welbourn,  147,  149-151 

Kellogg  Co.,  31 

Kendrick,  Alexander,  80,  81-82 

Kennedy,  John,  210,  216 

Kenyon,  Dorothy,  88 

Kintner,  Robert  E.,  24  fn. 

Kirkpatrick,  Theodore,  3  fn.,  14, 17, 

30,  32,  84,  270 
Klauber,  Edward,  7 1-72 
Knight,  Ruth  Adams,  43-44,  47, 

Kraft  Foods  Co.,  66-67,  102,  105 

Lambertson,  Representative,  160 
League  of  N.  Y.  Theatres,  158,  161, 

Lee,  Gypsy  Rose,  24 
Lennen  &  Mitchell,  117 
Lennen  &  Newell,  1 17 
Lever  Bros.,  194 
Lewis,  Fulton,  Jr.,  72,  79,  127 
Liberty  Broadcasting  System,  80,  84 
Little  Lady  Toiletries,  34 
Loeb,  Philip,  25,  35-38,  67,  115, 161 
Lord,  Phillips  H.,  Inc.,  24-26,  28 
Lyon,  Peter,  47 
Lytell,  Bert,  159-160 

Mack,  Walter,  25 
Mann,  Thomas,  16 
Manson,  Alan,  47 
Marinello,  Juan,  16 
Martin,  Charles  E.,  50-52 
Marx,  Karl,  248-249 

Masses  &  Mainstream,  215 

Matthews,  J.  B.,  110, 113 

Matusow,  Harvey,  63,  106-107,  117- 


Me  Cann-Erickson,  115,  192 
Me  Carran,  Senator,  57,  131,  143, 

146,  149,  151,  188 
Me  Cullough,  Hester,  30,  59,  209 
Me  Gee,  Willie,  165,  186, 187 
Me  Queen,  Butterfly,  47 
Metropolitan  Opera,  214 
Miller,  Arthur,  12-13,  211-212 
Miller,  Merle,  30-31,  42-43,  45 
Milton,  Paul,  44,  146-147,  152-154 
Miner,  Worthington,  47 
Morgan,  Edward  P.,  86 
Morgan,  Henry,  116 
Motion  Picture  Alliance  for  the  Pres- 
ervation of  American  Ideals,  61, 

Muir,  Jean,  22-23,  24,  29-31,  33,  34, 

42,  67,  115,  161,  206-209,  218 
Murrow,  Edward  R.,  71,  79,  80,  82, 

84-85,  102,  127,  277 
Mutual  Broadcasting  System,  72-74, 

76-80,  83,  85 
Nagel,  Conrad,  46 
Nation,  The,  249 
National  Broadcasting  Co.,  4,  23,  34, 

37,  46,  71-73,  78-80,  85,  86,  105, 

122-123,  129,  133,  174,  183,  189, 

209,  278 

National  Lawyers  Guild,  11 
Neuser,  Francis  W.,  106 
New  Leader,  The,  152-153 
New  York  Herald  Tribune,  17,  28 
New  York  Journal  American,  37,  59, 


New  York  Post,  77,  249 
New  York  Times,  The,  17,  18,  92-93, 

New  York  World-Telegram,  90,  159 


Oakson,  John  L,  204-205 
O'Brian,  Jack,  37 
O'Neil,  James  F.,  110,  112-114 
Oppenheimer,  J.  Robert,  127 
Osato,  Sono,  215 
O'Shea,  Daniel,  63,  68,  122, 
124-128,  187 

Paley,  William  S.,  14,71-72, 122-123 
Parker,  Dorothy,  78,  211,  212 
Peabody,  Stuart,  56 
Pearson,  Drew,  14,  87 
Pennington,  Lee,  110-112,  113 
Pepsi-Cola  Co.,  25,  28 
Peterson,  Val,  15  fn. 
Pitzele,  Merlyn  S.,  42,  44 
Players'  Guide,  229  fn. 
Polan,  Lou,  47 
Procter  &  Gamble  Co.,  192 
Prude,  Walter,  205-206 

Racht,  Leon,  157 

Radio  &  Television  Directors  Guild, 
(RTDG),  13,  26 

Radio  Annual-TV  Yearbook,  229  fn. 

Radio  Artists  Telephone  Exchange, 
229  fn. 

Radio  Registry,  229  fn. 

Radio  Station  WMCA,  83 

Radio  Station  WMGM,  83 

Radio  Writers  Guild,  13,  25,  43-44, 
47,  94,  143-144,  146-154,  162 

Randolph,  John,  47 

Ream,  Joseph  H.,  68-69,  123-124 

Red  Channels,  1-2,  7,  13-21,  23-31, 
33-34,  36,  39,  44,  46-47,  49-54, 
57-61,  71  fn.,  80-85,  89,  93,  95, 
104,  107,  110,  116,  118,  123,  133, 
161,  170-171,  173,  175,  177,  179, 
183,  187  fn.,  188,  196,  200,  205, 
212-214,  218,  227,  240,  270 

Reilly,  James,  210-211 

Rice,  Elmer,  22,  38-42 


Riesel,  Victor,  63,  90 

RKO  Radio  Pictures,  124 

Road  Back,  The,  134-37 

Robeson,  Paul,  8-9,  119,  166,  169, 

196,  214,  252 
Robinson,  Earl,  215 
Roche,  M.  J.,  194 
Rome,  Harold,  212 
Ross  Reports,  45-46,  229  fn. 
Royle,  Selena,  45-46 

St.  John,  Robert,  78,  80 

Salt,  Waldo,  215 

Saypol,  Irving,  50-51 

Schang,  F.  C.,  205 

Schlitz  Brewing  Co.,  192 

Schmidt,  Godfrey  P.,  28,  88,  129- 
130,  132-134,  137-142 

Schultz,  Rabbi  Benjamin,  30 

Schultz,  Robert,  204 

Schultz,  Robert,  Associates,  204 

Scott,  Hazel,  20-21,  24 

Scott,  L.  W.,  193 

Seldes,  Gilbert,  74-75,  76,  77 

Selznick  International  Pictures,  124 

Senate  Internal  Security  Subcommit- 
tee, 25,  43-44,  57,  94,  126,  136, 
143,  146,  149,  151,  188-189 

Sergio,  Lisa,  80,  82 

Sevareid,  Eric,  79,  86-87 

Shirer,  William  L.,  71,  77-81 

Sign,  The,  26,  28,  93 

Sloane,  Allan  E.,  124,  145 

Smith,  Gerald  L.  K.,  196 

Smith,  Howard  K.,  80-81 

Socolow,  Walter,  38 

Sokolsky,  George,  60-62,  63,  72,  90, 
112,  113-114,  128,  137,  187 

Sorenson,  Max  H.,  13 

Sorrell,  Herbert,  190 

Spivak,  Lawrence,  86 

Spotlight,  102,  106,  108 

Stanton,  Frank,  35-36 

Steel,  Johannes,  78,  80,  83 

Stewart,  D.  W.,  193 

Subversive  Activities  Control  Board, 

132,  136,  219-220 
Sullivan,  Ed,  14-15,  50,  59 
Sullivan,  Elliott,  47 
Swayze,  John  Cameron,  79 
Sweets,  William,  22,  24-29,  42 
Swing,  Raymond,  78,  84 
Sydney,  Sylvia,  214 

Television  Authority  (TVA),  37,  47 

Texas  Co.,  193 

Thomas,  J.  Parnell,  11,  14,  190 

Thomas,  Lowell,  79 

Thompson,  Dorothy,  76-77 

Thompson,  J.  Walter,  Co.,  53,  115 

Todd,  Betty,  13 

Tomkins,  William  R,  219-220 

Tunick,  Irve,  47 

Unesco,  88 

Vandercook,  John  W.,  72,  75, 78-79 

Vanguard  Films,  124 

Variety,  27,  173,  174,  190,  227 

Velde,  Rep.  Harold,  60-61 

Veterans  Action  Committee  of  Syra- 
cuse Super  Markets,  54-56,  63,  66, 
106,  209 

Veterans  of  Foreign  Wars,  59 
Voice  of  America,  86-87 
Voice  of  Freedom  Committee,  24, 
26-27,  78-80 

Waldorf  Conference,  216 
Waldorf  Peace  Conference,  16,  185 
Walsh,  J.  Raymond,  80,  83-84 
Walter,  Francis  E.,  211 
Waring,  Dorothy,  195-196 
Waring  Enterprises,  195-196 
Watkins,  Arthur  V.,  43-44,  143 
Weavers,  The,  107 
Webster,  Margaret,  212 
Westinghouse  Electric  Corp.,  193 
We  The  Undersigned,  44,  47, 


White,  Paul,  72,  75-76,  85 
Wicker,  Ireene,  22,  24,  31-34,  42,  67 
Winchell,  Walter,  15,  74-75 
Wishengrad,  Morton,  42,  44, 


Woltman,  Frederick,  90,  116 
Wood,  John  S.,  14 
Wren,  Jack,  60-62,  90-91,  115-121, 

122,  125 
Writers  Guild  of  America,  154 

Young  &  Rubicam,  24-25,  28,  29,  35, 



N  SEPTEMBER,  1954,  the  Board  of  Directors  of  The 
Fund  for  the  Republic  authorized  a  study  of  blacklisting 
in  the  motion  picture  and  radio-TV  industries.  John 
Cogley,  then  executive  editor  of  The  Commonweal,  was 
appointed  director  of  the  project.  He  was  asked  by  the 
Fund  to  prepare  a  full  factual  report  on  the  situation. 

Beginning  in  January,  1955,  a  staff  of  ten  reporters 
and  researchers  collected  facts  in  Hollywood  and  New 
York.  They  spent  the  next  eight  months  interviewing 
persons  on  both  Coasts  who  had  first-hand  knowledge  of 
the  situation.  In  all,  almost  five  hundred  persons  were 
interviewed.  Special  care  was  given  to  such  questions  as: 

Does  blacklisting  exist?  How  did  it  develop?  Who 
are,  or  have  been,  blacklisted?  Is  "clearance"  possible? 
How  does  "clearance"  operate?  Who  are  the  key  figures 
in  "clearance"  operations?  What  has  been  the  role  of 
the  theatrical  unions?  What  is,  or  has  been,  the  position 
of  the  motion-picture  industry  on  this  question?  The 
radio-television  industry?  The  leading  advertising  agen- 
cies? The  chief  sponsors?  Do  those  who  have  been 
blacklisted  have  recourse  in  the  law?  Did  the  "Holly- 
wood Ten"  and  the  group  of  self-confessed  ex-Com- 
munists  in  Hollywood  succeed  in  using  the  films  to 
propagate  the  Communist  Party  line?  What  do  rank- 
and-file  members  of  the  radio-television  industry  think 
of  blacklisting  and  what  effect  has  it  had  on  morale  in 
the  industry? 

These  and  many  other  questions  are  answered  in 
this  two-volume  "REPORT  ON  BLACKLISTING."